A day after writer-director-star Ben Affleck revealed that DC comics villain Deathstroke will appear his upcoming Batman film, Magic Mike co-star and True Blood vet Joe Manganiello has signed on to portray the nefarious super soldier.
No details have slipped out about just how large a role Deathstroke will play in the stand-alone Bat-adventure, but the speculation near and far is that he could be the film’s main villain. Given his role in the comics from whence he came as well as the fact he’s largely unknown outside of comic book fandom, Deathstroke as the big bad would give Warner Bros a good opportunity to expand on a character that, unlike other ranking members of the DC Universe’s most wanted list like The Joker, Two-Face, and Catwoman, hasn’t already been depicted numerous times in various feature films.
Created in 1980 by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez, Deathstroke the Terminator – AKA Slade Wilson – is a former soldier granted extraordinary abilities thanks to a government-issued super serum (think evil Captain America). Becoming a killer for hire, he was introduced as an enemy of the Teen Titans before being established as a frequent antagonist and foil to Batman with ties to some of the Dark Knight’s biggest enemies. He’s most commonly depicted in a heavy armored uniform with a half-black, half-orange mask.
Deathstroke is also closely associated with Green Arrow and made his live action debut on the CW’s Arrow played by New Zealand actor Manu Bennett. We’re told that the character’s introduction to WB’s DC films doesn’t mean Bennett won’t continue to portray the character on Arrow, a possibility series star Stephen Amell talked up recently at Salt Lake Comic-Con.
Incidentally, Deathstroke is also a partial inspiration for Marvel’s Deadpool – after artist Rob Liefeld turned in his first design for Deadpool, co-creator Fabian Nicieza noted similarities to Deathstroke, prompting them to choose “Wade Wilson” as Deadpool’s real name as an inside joke.
Best known for his long running role on True Blood and his turn as “Big” Dick Richie in the Magic Mike films, Manganiello was most recently seen opposite Paul Ruebens in Netflix’s Pee Wee’s Big Holiday.