Despite the resounding success of Matt Reeves’ version of Gotham’s Dark Knight, a lot of fans are still disappointed that they didn’t get to see Ben Affleck as The Batman. Sharing the same title, the movie was supposed to be a continuation of 2017’s Justice League within the DC Extended Universe. And Slade Wilson/Deathstroke would have been the primary antagonist. Now, although that version of the film has been scrapped, Jay Oliva has given fans a glimpse at what could have been with his artwork from the project.
The storyboard artist shared the image in a post on social media. In the grey and black drawing, Joe Manganiello’s Deathstroke is seen poised for battle with his sword at the ready. Reflected in his weapon’s blade is Ben Affleck’s Batman, looking equally ready for a fight. The picture could have been part of an action sequence if the movie had ever been made. But unfortunately, all that’s left of the epic rivalry are concept images. Check out the concept art of Ben Affleck’s Batman facing off with Joe Manganiello’s Deathstroke below:
Deathstroke’s only appearance in the DC Extended Universe takes place in post-credits scenes in both versions of Justice League. The original cut features the character in a scene with Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luther. Joe Manganiello decked out in the iconic orange and black armor appears on a luxury yacht where the duo reaches an agreement to destroy Ben Affleck’s Batman. The meeting teased the possible future of a League of Villains to combat the Justice League. But it was ultimately left as a loose end.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League gave the supervillain a little more screen time, with a slightly altered version of that scene. Deathstroke also appeared in the post-apocalyptic epilogue that showed him teaming up with Ben Affleck’s Dark Knight, Cyborg, The Flash, Mera, and the Joker against evil Superman. In a 2020 interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Manganiello revealed that the story would have focused on Slade Wilson’s plot to methodically destroy Bruce Wayne’s public image as Gotham City’s leading citizen and his secret existence as Batman.
After Ben Affleck, who was also supposed to write and direct the film, exited the project in 2017, Matt Reeves created his vision of The Batman with Robert Pattinson starring as the Dark Knight. Since then, fans have been hopeful that the supervillain will find a prominent role within the DCEU. There have also been whispers about a new Deathstroke project that will either be a sequel to The Suicide Squad or a spinoff from the movie. He may also appear in the second season of Peacemaker. Adding fuel to the fire, the actor recently set social media abuzz when he shared a photo of himself as the DC villain covered in a spectrum of bright colors.
Now that Ben Affleck has retired the cowl, Robert Pattinson is ready to reprise his role as Gotham’s protector for two more movies. Matt Reeves confirmed the news during an appearance at Warner Bros CinemaCon presentation. According to Esquire, the director thanks fans for their tremendous support for The Batman. He added that he is excited to jump back into “this world” for the next chapter.