Is Justice League’s Joe Manganiello Teasing His Deathstroke Return?

By Liam Crowley Updated:
Justice League, Deathstroke, Joe Manganiello

Despite the success of 2021's Zack Snyder's Justice League, Warner Bros. is moving the DC Extended Universe in a direction that strays from the Man of Steel director's vision. Ben Affleck's Batman is on his way out, Ray Fisher's Cyborg status is not exactly positive, and Henry Cavill's Superman future has a question mark the size of Krypton. Even with half the Justice League's roster likely retired, Snyder's director's cut still has plenty of characters Warner can pull from for future films.

At the top of that list is Joe Manganiello's Deathstroke. The first live-action feature film adaptation of Slade Wilson made two appearances in DCEU projects, although both left a lot to be desired. Manganiello debuted as Deathstroke in 2017's Justice League, siding with Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor. He then showed up in Zack Snyder's Justice League, aligning with Batman's Knightmare ensemble, rocking a mohawk.

Before those two official appearances, the DCEU's live-action Deathstroke was first showcased in test footage tweeted out by Ben Affleck. The blue and orange-clad mercenary was initially penned as the main antagonist for Affleck's solo Batman film before that project was scrapped in favor of Matt Reeves' take on the caped crusader.

Even though Deathstroke has been a victim of start-stop momentum for the past six years, Manganiello's mercenary might be gearing up for a featured role.

Joe Manganiello Teases Deathstroke's DCEU Future

Does Slade Wilson have his next contract?

Taking to Instagram, Deathstroke actor Joe Manganiello posted an image of his DCEU character from Zack Snyder's Justice League alongside the cryptic caption, "new profile pic..."

Deathstroke Joe Manganiello
@joemanganiello on Instagram

This comes just months after Manganiello claimed he "let that go a while ago" in regards to suiting up as Deathstroke again.

DCEU Return for Slade Wilson?

Nothing is certain within these various cinematic universes, but the timing of Manganiello's social media rebrand is noteworthy.

Once upon a time, Deathstroke was penciled in to lead James Gunn's The Suicide Squad but was ultimately replaced by Idris Elba's Bloodsport early in the development process. Even though Slade Wilson didn't show face in last summer's Task Force X film, the nature of the rotating ensemble does not shut down the possibility of Deathstroke joining the ranks in a future film.

Considering Gunn's social media presence, it's clear that discussions about a Deathstroke return are at least active. The acclaimed director is known to debunk rumors surrounding his projects on Twitter, yet has liked numerous tweets about Manganiello's Deathstroke. With constant chatter about Slade Wilson's DCEU future on social media, it's notable that Gunn is inadvertently fueling that fire.

After all, John Cena's Christopher Smith needs an antagonist for Peacemaker Season 2. Or, perhaps Manganiello could partake in one of the other Suicide Squad spinoffs Gunn has cooking up.

Joe Manganiello's Deathstroke can be seen in Zack Snyder's Justice League, streaming now on HBO Max.

- About The Author: Liam Crowley

MCU Writer, Editor, Podcaster