When you hear things like this, it makes you wonder sometimes what is going on over at the water tower on the Warner Bros lot. When the “Snyderverse” was still a thing, Ben Affleck (Bruce Wayne/Batman) co-wrote a script called The Batman with Geoff Johns. The star was also attached to direct.
Besides the successive failures of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Suicide Squad (2016) and Justice League (2017 version), Affleck was also struggling with alcoholism. Choosing to save himself over a film (wise move), Affleck walked away from the project.
That’s how we now have Matt Reeves developing a standalone trilogy starring Robert Pattinson.
Now thanks to an interview with Justice League co-star Joe Manganiello (Slade Wilson/Deathstroke) we now know a bit about what happened in Affleck’s script.
Affleck’s The Batman would have seen the Dark Knight go up against Manganiello’s Deathstroke. If you’re not familiar with the character, he is an assassin and archenemy of the Teen Titans, specifically Dick Grayson (Robin/Nightwing). Deathstrokehas also served as an adversary of other heroes in the DC Universe, such as Batman, Green Arrow, and the Justice League. We got our first tease of this in Zack Snyder’s Justice League Knightmare sequence.
Chopping it up on the Phase Zero podcast, Manganiello revealed that the script also included Batgirl.
“There was like a big huge showdown, I think between Batgirl…Batgirl jumps in to try and help Bruce because Deathstroke is so fast,” the actor said. “He can anticipate Bruce’s movements.” That sounds seriously awesome, and Manganiello went on to explain that the hero is “completely afraid” of Slade Wilson because “he met someone who can take him.”
“That leads to this big climactic battle through the streets of Gotham in the end,” he continued. “It’s like a real-life psychological thriller with Deathstroke. He was like a horror movie, like a shark, kind of like Jaws.”
Unless HBO Max comes through on that rumor that has been making the rounds of Affleck reprising the role for streaming, this is something we will probably never see.
The Geek is a working screenwriter, director and screenwriting instructor.