Deathstroke is one of those comic book characters who isn’t appreciated enough. I’ll just get this out of the way and point out that he was around before Deadpool. That’s right, he debuted in comics first, but Deadpool often gets more attention. That’s probably rightfully so, considering that he’s had two solo movies that were massive hits. Deathstroke, on the other hand, has had only one movie appearance and that was just a quick cameo in a post-credits scene. That movie was of course, the 2017 Justice League movie that was directed by Zack Snyder, but isn’t actually Zack Snyder’s movie. That’s why we’re getting the movie (in this case, series) that is actually his vision next year on HBO Max. Awesome. I’m excited, but recently, some news has broken out about it that has surprised everyone.
Before the Snyder Cut of Justice League was announced, there was a war on the internet. I mean, when isn’t there one? People tend to get heated on the internet over many media-related things, but in this case, fans sparred over the existence of the Snyder Cut of Justice League. Some people said it didn’t exist and it would never see the light of day. The other side vehemently claimed that it was complete and did exist and it would somehow, some way see the light of day. That bickering was going on for a while and I’ll admit, I was one of those people who didn’t think it was one-hundred percent done and would be available for us to watch.
Well, when it was announced, it turns out that people like me were only half-right. The Snyder Cut would be coming, but it wasn’t ready to be released yet. That was a sure thing, but I originally thought it wasn’t done in just the post-production stage. Well, it turns out the Snyder Cut was more incomplete than I thought. Zack Snyder will be bringing back the whole crew for some additional reshoots, not to mention some newcomers. The newcomer I’m talking about is Jared Leto. Oh yes, he’s returning to reprise his role in the Snyder Cut. Now that’s some surprising news, but sure after that, I figured that all bets were off. The return of past DCEU characters was inevitable.
The character that I wanted to see return the most was Joe Manganiello’s Deathstroke. He’s one of the most underused DC characters in the realm of movies, television, and video games. I’ll get more into that later, but I was hoping the DCEU would be the exception. When I saw him come aboard Lex Luthor’s yacht in that post-credits scene, I was stoked. Not only did it tease the future debut of the Injustice League, but implied that he was going to duke it out with Ben Affleck’s Batman. When it comes to Batman villains, Deathstroke is one of his greatest physical challenges. They fought in the comics many times and many times, both fighters emerged the victor. It’s a fight that has been long overdue for live-action movies and one that I’m itching to see.
After the box office failure of Justice League, however, my hopes sunk. I didn’t think we’d ever see Joe Manganiello’s Deathstroke again, but as luck or fate would have it, Zack Snyder himself has called him back. Yes, oh yes, we will be seeing Deathstroke again next year in the Snyder Cut of Justice League. After hearing Jared Leto was coming back, I instantly thought that if he could return, so could Joe Manganiello. Turns out that Zack Snyder thought the same, and now Manganiello will be suiting up as the Terminator (his nickname in the comics) once again.
This news greatly excites me, but it leaves me asking some questions. The ultimate one is how can Deathstroke be used in the Snyder Cut of Justice League? In the original version, he was basically reduced to a cameo to set up for a sequel that may never happen. If that’s the case, then that’s unfortunate, but Zack Snyder has a chance to do something even better. First off, I firmly believe that those two post-credits scenes were Joss Whedon’s idea. I also believe that Zack Snyder did want Deathstroke to debut in the DCEU at some point, but maybe not the way he did in that post-credits scene.
Now that Zack Snyder has had years to rethink his Justice League story and convert it into a series, he has an opportunity to utilize Deathstroke in a much bigger fashion. Much like Joker, Deathstroke wouldn’t be a suitable ally for Steppenwolf. Before the Justice League takes on Steppenwolf and his army, they can battle Deathstroke. More specifically, Batman can go toe-to-toe with him. That’s a fight that has to happen. If they do meet, I’m guessing that interaction will happen in one of the early episodes. That way, it’ll be ultimately insignificant to the main conflict with Steppenwolf, but still deliver as an epic fight scene. We know that Zack Snyder kills it when it comes to giving us good action, but he never gives us action just for the sake of showing action. Yeah, he’s not Michael Bay.
If Deathstroke and Batman are going to fight, there has to be a reason behind it. Whenever Deathstroke went after Batman in the comics, it was because he was hired to kill him. He is a mercenary and the best in the DC universe. When he was meeting with Lex Luthor in that post-credits scene, he was going to be given a contract. Lex Luthor is a billionaire and is a total psychopath, the kind of employer who would throw truck loads of money at Deathstroke. I reckon Luthor is still angry at Batman for putting him in Arkham Asylum and wants him dead.
Instead of having Luthor and Deathstroke meet at the end of Justice League, they should meet in one of the first episodes of the Snyder Cut. Luthor has connections and can be a criminal mastermind even behind bars. If he’s still in prison, he can arrange for Deathstroke to receive the contract and send him after Batman. He won’t succeed, but if Luthor escapes, he can still do what he was planning to do in the original cut. If Batman needs help from the Justice League to defeat Deathstroke, this could prompt Lex Luthor to pursue the formation of the Injustice League. Now that the DCEU is expanding and introducing more villains, the Justice League vs. the Injustice League could actually become a reality.
Above all, Zack Snyder just needs to make Deathstroke a badass. That’s what I meant earlier when I said he was underused. In almost all of his appearances in TV shows, video games, and animated movies have him be a secondary villain where he never poses much of a threat to the hero. His most significant live-action appearance is the Arrow television show and even that version was defeated by Green Arrow. Guys, this is one of the few supervillains who defeated Batman hand-to-hand. He should not be kicked around so much. I hope Zack Snyder’s version fights Ben Affleck’s Batman to a standstill. They are both big guys and they need to have more than one fight. A fight in the Snyder Cut just give us a taste of what that can be like.
Are you guys as excited as I am to see Joe Manganiello return in the Snyder Cut? I hope this is Deathstroke’s best live-action appearance. 2021 can’t come any faster.