Deathstroke might quietly be one of the most frequently adapted villains in the entire DC Universe. While characters like the Joker and Penguin boast ample screen time in DC films and animated series, they also cast a long shadow and are typically only considered a decent matchup for their respective hero, in this case Batman.
Deathstroke has no such limits. As a gun for hire, Slade Wilson can appear in nearly any setting, pitted against (or aligned with) nearly any hero. The sheer number of movies, television shows, games and animated offerings he has appeared in lately more than prove this point.
The Promise of the Injustice League
Given how many times Deathstroke has been adapted for the screen, it’s easy to forget that the character was once going to have his very own movie directed by The Raid‘s Gareth Evans — or so we thought. As the rumor went, Deathstroke’s appearance in Justice League‘s stinger was actually a prelude to his larger role in the DCEU, where he would be played by Joe Manganiello.
Manganiello, a huge fan of the character, was pumped and ready to don the villain’s iconic helmet in a larger role. Evans was even interested in taking on the challenge of developing a standalone film for the assassin. Now, though, it sounds like the dream of the Deathstroke solo movie has gone up in smoke.
The news came earlier this week, when someone finally tracked down Evans and pressed him on the matter of the Deathstroke movie. As it turns out, the director was only ever tangentially attached to the project, and that’s pressing the definition of the word. Apparently, Evans had “a few conversations” with DC about the character, and had even spoken to Manganiello about the role, but things never went any further than that.
Part of the reason for the project losing steam so quickly might have to do with where Deathstroke was originally planned to fit into the DCEU. The character first appeared in an after-credits stinger in Justice League, arriving on Lex Luthor’s yacht after the whole worldwide invasion and apocalypse thing had died down. There, Lex proposed that Deathstroke help him build a counter to the Justice League — an Injustice League, if you will.
From there, Deathstroke was rumored to be the main villain of Ben Affleck’s Batman movie, a project that will likely never come to fruition now that director Matt Reeves has taken over the project. Granted, we still don’t know who the main villain of Reeves’ film will be, so there’s always a sliver of hope that Slade will make an appearance — though it’s still just a sliver.
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