One of the many dangling threads that Zack Snyder’s Justice League left hanging was Joe Manganiello’s appearance as Deathstroke. While his appearance was still minor in the ensemble cast, the character is iconic in DC comics and is definitely one that fans can get excited to see. From the little fans did get to experience, Manganiello appeared to be a great casting choice. This was further enforced by the actor’s apparent enthusiasm for his role. Following the release of the director’s cut for the film, fans jumped online demanding more, and the actor encouraged them. Now, one of our trusted and proven inside sources has shared that filmmaker James Gunn wants Joe Manganiello to appear in a future The Suicide Squad project.
Currently, Joe Manganiello is in talks to return as Deathstroke for a James Gunn project, either a sequel to The Suicide Squad or a spinoff from the movie. Since they’re only now in talks for this role, it doesn’t seem likely that the role is for Peacemaker, which is well underway. However, it’s not impossible. Right now though, interviews with James Gunn have made it sound like he is looking ahead to the future, so based on what we’re hearing, it sounds like The Suicide Squad 2 or another character’s spinoff project will be what the filmmaker has in mind for Deathstroke. Based on the positive remarks from other actors who’ve worked with Gunn and said that it’s a great experience, and Manganiello’s enthusiasm for his past role, it seems likely these talks will go well.
We learned this information about Joe Manganiello’s talks before discovering that James Gunn seemingly originally pictured the character of Deathstroke leading The Suicide Squad instead of Idris Elba’s Bloodsport. HBO Max released a featurette for the film called Way of the Gunn. In it, you can see the filmmaker planning his new DC film. On the whiteboard is a photo of the heroes coming out of the water. In the lead is an easy-to-recognize costume for Deathstroke. See below.
So far, we haven’t been able to learn if James Gunn pictured Joe Manganiello playing the role of Deathstroke in The Suicide Squad when he had this earlier plan for the cast. The costume for the character looks to be colored slightly different from how Deathstroke looked in Zack Snyder’s Justice League. However, that doesn’t necessarily tell us much.
While characters like Harley Quinn were brought into The Suicide Squad after appearing in the 2016 Ayer Suicide Squad movie, bringing Joe Manganiello’s Deathstroke into future projects attached to The Suicide Squad will help create a more unified DC Universe. Perhaps more important to many fans, it will further work to continue Zack Snyder’s vision for the DC Extended Universe. Recently, Gunn has said that his experiences behind the scenes have shown him that DC’s future film plans are more tied together. Some are hoping that with James Gunn diving into DC projects, he’ll become a new architect for that universe. Only time will tell for that one, but the more that becomes known about what James Gunn is doing behind the scenes, the more promising it looks.