Earlier this week, the comic book movie fandom was set alight when Ben Affleck surprisingly dropped a short clip on social media which appeared to tease the introduction of Deathstroke into the DC cinematic universe.
The footage showed the iconic assassin in full suit, walking menacingly in front of the camera. A mask may have been concealing the identity of the actor playing Deathstroke but eagle-eyed Internet detectives have connected the dots and concluded that it is none other than Joe Manganiello (True Blood, Magic Mike).
(Continues after pic)
There are several hints pointing towards Manganiello as Slade Wilson. Firstly, the muscle-bound actor just started following Justice League director Zack Snyder on Twitter. This is far from conclusive, of course, but it’s intriguing timing and it’s no coincidence that Snyder is the directorial overlord of the DC movieverse.
Adding to that, Manganiello is currently in London, where Justice League happens to be filming. It should also be noted that Manganiello’s wife, actress Sofia Vergara (Modern Family), follows Affleck on Twitter. Take from this what you will but, remember for now, this is purely rumour and speculation.
Manganiello doesn’t share an obvious physical resemblance to the Deathstroke in DC comics but one Redditor pointed out that a recent photo of the actor shared on social media shows him with a very Deathstroke-esque beard.
But let’s not forget that the actor has been attached to the role ever since Suicide Squad was first announced (here)… could this have been where the rumour came from? Has he been in the frame for a while?
Affleck’s clip was deliberately cryptic and it remains to be seen if Deathstroke is introduced in Justice League or the solo Batman movie he is directing, co-writing and starring in. Also on Monday, The Wrap reported that Deathstroke would indeed be the chief antagonist in the Batman film, contrary to previous suggestions claiming it would be Jared Leto’s Joker, who debuted in Suicide Squad.
It is confirmation of a long-held rumour that Deathstroke would play a major villainous role in a DC movie at some point after Marc Guggenheim, creator of the Arrow TV show, said this is response to a fan asking why the character would not be returning to the series: “The character of Slade Wilson is currently tied up in another DC project. Walter is more likely,” he said in a Tumblr post.
DC fans have more reason to rejoice. After the feverish excitement from the releases of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, the introduction of another immensely popular character into the universe is sure to set nerd pulses racing.
Justice League is released November 17, 2017. Affleck’s Batman film does not have a confirmed release date but is expected to drop in 2019.
— Ben Affleck (@BenAffleck) August 29, 2016