Deathstroke movie plans, according to its lead, would have likened Slade Wison to Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne.
Once upon a time, actor Joe Manganiello would have continued his role as Slade Wilson from his cameo in Justice League.
Regardless of whether the theatrical release was by Zack Snyder or Joss Whedon
Deathstroke Movie – What Would Have Been And Who Is Slade Wilson?
Sadly, however, the Whedon cut’s underperformance at the box office resulted in Warners Media abandoning the shared continuity approach to its films, the Deathstroke project included. The only franchises that still share the same universe are Wonder Woman, Shazam!, Aquaman, and the upcoming Black Adam.
Further, Joe sheds light on what would have been, and apparently it was a step away from the hyperreality the DC Shared Universe is known for. “I want to make it clear that it wasn’t a script yet, it was a treatment. It was an outline for how the story could go. Who were the characters involved? It involved Adeline [Kane,] the kinds, who were going to be young, [Bill] Wintergreen, [and Talia al Ghul. In] my script, there was an origin story for the sword and there were League of Shadows ties and things like that.”
As for the tone and approach, fans would have expected less reliance on CGI and more on practical effects and stunts in the same vein as Matt Damon’s Bourne franchise. “It was more of a Tom Clancy ripped from the headlines sort of story, or even like a Bourne Identity where it was to be really grounded, and political with military drama as far as what it would take to go from devoting his life to his country for this life he believed in to, you know, having the rug pulled out from underneath him and being stabbed in the back and now knowing who to trust.” Further, the plot was to focus on Slade getting his revenge on those who betrayed him in Washington, DC.
Manganiello devoted passionate research into fleshing out his approach to Slade Wilson, as well as delving into his background as a family man gone wrong. Created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez for their inaugural run on New Teen Titans, Deathstroke was a soldier who had fallen in love and married his superior officer. He had secretly underwent performance enhancements that would allow him to access his body’s full mental and physical potential. Discharged from the military, Slade had supported his family by taking on secret mercenary contracts using his new abilities. His mercenary life soon caught up with him in a hostage situation involving his wife and son in exchange for information on a previous employer. Outraged that he had endangered his family and chose to honor his employer’s information over his son’s life, his wife had shot him in the head. He survived but it had cost him his eye and his home life. His son, Grant, however, could not escape following in his father’s footsteps, even going so far as being enhanced himself by H.I.V.E. to take on their contract to assassinate The Teen Titans when Slade refused. He not only failed but his enhancements resulted in his death. Slade’s decision to complete his son’s contract out of his blaming the team for Grant’s death is what put him in the affirmed role of villain. Wolfman had even said what makes it complex is that he does so out of a sense of honor to kill the Titans even though it’s against what he believes in.
“[I] wanted Deathstroke to be human and grounded and so I started with, you know, he was part of the American military. OK, well which part? What branch? What would he have done? [What] did his wife do? You know, and then, of course, like the League of Shadows influence And why does he carry a sword? And how do you learn how to use a sword? If you’re, you know, most military gues don’t mess around with katanas, it’s just not what they do. So that part of the story needed to build out. And so I was really grounding it and they really [loved it.] So I worked on that for months.”
Joe is one of five actors who have portrayed the character on a live action format. Performances of interest in recent years are Manu Bennet’s grounded approach on the hit CW series Arrow, and Esal Morales on the DC Universe Streaming series Titans, the latter adhering closely to the original Wolfman-Perez conception of him.
As fans who have seen the epic four-hour Zack Snyder’s Justice League now know, Manganiello’s Deathstroke would have had a role in the planned trilogy on Batman’s team of rebels in a post-Darkseid world during those “Knightmare” sequences.
Fans can still catch the film on HBO Max.