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Justice League's Joe Manganiello Details How Deathstroke Arrived In The Snyder Cut

In a recent interview, the actor shares some surprising insights into both versions of the DC superhero film.

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Coming to Zack Snyder's Justice League, which arrives on HBO Max on March 18, is Joe Manganiello (True Blood) playing Deathstroke, a character cut from the theatrical cut of the movie. The actor recently spoke about the role in the Joss Whedon version and it's expansion in the Snyder Cut.

On the MTV film podcast Happy Sad Confused, Manganiello spoke in some detail about the many of the coulda beens with the footage Whedon had inherited from Snyder, and also about his own goals for his Justice League role as DC supervillain Deathstroke.

As Manganiello explains, when Snyder was still involved in the original Justice League production, he fully expected to reprise the role in a planned The Batman movie from director and star Ben Affleck. In quotes transcribed from the interview from The Hollywood Reporter, Manganiello says that deal in place planted the seeds for a planned post-credits Justice League scene on a yacht with Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), setting Deathstroke up as the villain for that other film.

"Six months later, I got notification that Batman wasn't going to happen," Manganiello says. And as we all know, Affleck is also no longer Batman--a decision whose runway set into motion a series of butterfly effects that largely left Deathstroke on the proverbial shelf in the DC film universe. Manganiello, perhaps feeling inspiring or just seeking agency over the character's future, even attempted to rally by writing his own treatment for an origin story movie for the character, which in 2017 and 2018 "was not seen as a priority to make a $40 million movie about a villain origin story in which you show the backstory." A stinging irony in this, of course, is what a success Joaquin Phoenix's Oscar-winning performance in Joker proved to be in 2019.

Manganiello, in a manner of speaking, seems to be getting the last laugh when he finally appears as intended in Zack Snyder's Justice League, featuring a new scene Snyder shot that includes him alongside Affleck and other stars. Says Manganiello of Deathstroke's recently revealed haircut in the film: "In the end of the film I always envisioned him shaving his head into some kind of warlike, borderline suicide mission, 'This is it, I'm going to die like a warrior.' I explained that to Zack, and he said, 'Great, let's do it.'"

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