The evolution of Joe Manganiello's superhero movie bad guy talents has come full circle with the announcement that the Spider-Man vet will be playing deadly assassin Slade Wilson/Deathstroke in future DC Comics-inspired movies, notably in Ben Affleck's first solo Batman movie.
Manganiello made it official with the tweet of a Wall Street Journal story in which DC Entertainment president Geoff Johns confirmed the casting.
Before the heavyweight champ of superhero cinema that is Marvel Studios existed, Sony reigned supreme with its first Spider-Man movie franchise. In the first of those movies back in 2002, Manganiello was the not so lovable bully Flash Thompson, pestering Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) until Peter was forced to give him a taste of his proportionate strength of a spider (although Flash was a little upset when Peter accidentally dumped his lunch on Flash's head due to Peter's inexperience with his webbing at the time).
Now, Manganiello, who was once in contention to play Superman in Man of Steel, a role that eventually went to Henry Cavill, has graduated to the super-villain big time. Batman's adversaries have produced some legendary performances from some of the best actors in the business, from Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger's Jokers to Liam Neeson's Ra's Al Ghul and Tom Hardy's Bane.
Ledger posthumously won an Academy Award for his performance as the Joker. No one is expecting Manganiello to duplicate that, but in Deathstroke he has the potential to spin-off into his own movie franchise because of this character's popularity with fans of DC Comics and a rich library of comic book series to dive into for inspiration. It's very possible there could be just as many fans rooting for Deathstroke as there are pulling for Batfleck when the next solo Batman film arrives.
Only the most intriguing of villains get their own books in the comic book world. Deathstroke is that guy. And if Manganiello's Deathstroke can avoid the end-of-movie death that befalls so many cinematic Batman villains, this is a moment for DC and Warner Bros. that is ripe with potential for expansion.