In The Batman, Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne faces off against the Riddler. When Ben Affleck was attached to the movie, though, his version of the DC hero was set to go toe-to-toe with Deathstroke. Now, concept artist Keith Christensen has revealed what Joe Manganiello’s take on the villainous swordsman would have looked like had that version of the film ever been made.
Taking to Instagram, Christensen – who previously shared glimpses of Affleck’s proposed look in the scrapped movie – uploaded an illustration of a suited-and-booted Slade Wilson. In the image, the character sports a more streamlined look than the cumbersome one he had in the post-credit scene of 2017’s Justice League.
The outfit’s colors are much less in-your-face, too, with Christensen swapping out Deathstroke’s signature blue-black and orange for grey and a muted coppery, metallic tone.
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Prior to Affleck being introduced as the Caped Crusader in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the actor had signed on to write and direct his own take on the Gotham City vigilante.
In 2017, though, he “recalibrated his priorities” and dropped out, leading to Planet of the Apes filmmaker Matt Reeves coming on board. Reeves reworked the story and removed most of its DCEU tie-ins before Pattinson was cast in 2019.
Affleck had announced Manganiello’s involvement in his movie back in September 2016. A month later, he told Collider: “He’s a great villain because – I just had an instinctive feeling that he would match up with him well.
“You know, I’m a big admirer of that character, as well, especially in the New 52 the way they did Deathstroke, and I thought that it could work.”
“It was a really dark story in which Deathstroke was like a shark or a horror movie villain that was dismantling Bruce’s life from the inside out,” Manganiello said of the film in 2020, comparing it to David Fincher’s The Game.
“It was this systematic thing: He killed everyone close to Bruce and destroyed his life to try and make him suffer because he felt that Bruce was responsible for something that happened to him.”
The Batman is out in cinemas now. While it dominates screens worldwide, check out our list of best superhero movies here.