Deathstroke vs. Batgirl would have been a major DCEU showdown.
In a recent interview, Joe Manganiello, who played Deathstroke in Justice League, shared how the never-produced Ben Affleck Batman film would have had his mercenary tangling with Batgirl as well as the Dark Knight.
The League setup
The original 2017 cut of Justice League had Manganiello appear in a post-credits scene where Lex Luthor proposes “a League of our own.” This was supposed to be the first of several projects to set up Snyder’s League sequels.
Among those projects would have been Ben Affleck directing a solo Batman movie where Deathstroke would have been the central villain.
The long-running character has occasionally been an anti-hero but works much better as a pure villain. Slade Wilson is a former U.S. soldier who received an experimental serum that granted him enhanced strength, physical skills, and intelligence. He uses them as a freelance mercenary.
Talking to ComicBook Nation, Manganiello shared how the film’s plot would have had Deathstroke blaming Batman for a personal loss. He would then embark on a vicious plot of revenge to destroy Bruce Wayne’s life.
“You could kind of like infer from the proper Justice League and credit scene. Slade is summoned by Luther, who offers a peace offering of information to Slade. So basically: Slade lost his son. And he blamed Batman for it. Batman had a hand in it. And Luthor summons him to his yacht. And gives him a key piece of information that Batman’s secret identity is Bruce Wayne. So now he’s setting loose this unstoppable force on Gotham City and Bruce Wayne.”
Given this is Lex Luthor, he may have been lying about Batman’s involvement in Slade’s son’s death simply to use Slade to destroy Batman as part of the attack on the Justice League.
Manganiello claimed the film’s plot had “a strong David Fincher vibe” and compared it to the director’s 1997 thriller The Game. In the film, a businessman (Michael Douglas) finds himself put into a complex mystery that puts his entire existence in danger.
There were also clear similarities to “Born Again,” considered the greatest Daredevil story of all time. In that classic storyline, Kingpin discovers Daredevil’s secret identity and methodically destroys his life.
The comparison would be ironic given that Affleck played the Man Without Fear in a 2003 movie.
The addition of Batgirl would have been part of Snyder’s plans to have the heroine be a bigger part of the DCEU.
In Snyder’s Justice League 3, Batman would have been badly wounded fighting Darkseid and thus retire. It also would have revealed Lois Lane was pregnant with Bruce Wayne’s child.
In the future, now-police Commissioner Babara Gordon would encourage Lois to tell her son the truth, which pushes the man to become the new Batman.
Manganiello discussed how his fight with Batman would have involved the debut of Batgirl.
“There was like a big huge showdown, I think between Batgirl, Batgirl jumps in to try to help Bruce because Deathstroke is so fast that he can anticipate Bruce’s movements. And there was this huge fight in Gotham City where Batman is like completely afraid because he realizes he’s met someone who can take him. And then that leads to this big climactic battle through the streets of Gotham City at the end. It was like a real like psychological thriller where Deathstroke was kind of like a horror movie villain, like a shark, kind of like Jaws.”
Snyder had shared his hopes that Batgirl would be able to step up as a heroine in the DCEU and mentor to this new Batman.
While Manganiello was able to play Deathstroke again for the Snyder Cut, his interview shares how Batgirl and Deathstroke would have become major players in the DCEU.
Justice League the Snyder Cut now streaming on HBO Max.