UPDATE: We just got confirmation of the fact that Deathstroke is indeed the villain of Affleck's The Batman, as per an exclusive from The Wrap. Check out the footage from the director's Facebook below, and then use the comments to speculate on when The Batman will arrive to shake up the DCEU.
Any afternoon which begins with a teaser for an upcoming DCEU movie is a good afternoon in my books, and teasers don't get much juicier than the one Ben Affleck just posted to social media. Filmed on a phone, the test footage captures Slade Wilson, a.k.a. Deathstroke the Terminator, fully suited and looking seriously badass in some kind of industrial warehouse.
Cryptically, Affleck has provided no clues as to what's actually being teased here. It could possibly relate to a rumor posted on cosmicbooknews.com alleged that Deathstroke was being lined up as the villain of Suicide Squad 2, but if Affleck has the exclusive, it's more likely to be related to his movie, The Batman. Then again, it could also have something to do with Justice League.
Check out the teaser above, and then let's try to decipher exactly which future DCEU movie is to be graced by the universe's most ruthless assassin.
Right now, we don't know a damn thing about Batman's solo movie, beyond the fact that Affleck is directing from a script written by himself and Geoff Johns, the creative overlord of the entire DCEU. If there's one thing you can and should expect from a Batfleck film, it's a more comic book-honoring take on the Bat universe than Nolan's trilogy, and that means a deeper exploration of the rogues gallery.
Few Batman villains are as relentless as Deathstroke, the mercenary with superhuman strength and endurance, mastery of martial arts skills and an arsenal of high-tech weaponry almost as extensive as Batman's. The Batman is likely to hit either in October 2018 or November 2019, and even the earlier date is over two years away — but would Affleck really have the exclusive from another director's movie? My guess would be that Deathstroke is being lined up as one of several rogues to appear in The Batman, with potential to appear across the DCEU.
Update: The report from The Wrap confirms my earlier speculation that Deathstroke would bring the badassery to The Batman. Is there a classic Bruce/Slade face-off from the world of DC Comics you'd kill to see adapted for the big screen? If so, give it a mention in the comments.
For more DCEU villainy:
- Is Deathstroke The Villain Of 'Justice League'?
- 'Dark Universe' To 'The Batman': Here's Every DCEU Movie On The Way
- If 'The Batman' Is Headed To Arkham, It's Time We Met These 5 Rogues
It's generally agreed that Steppenwolf, the trusted general of Darkseid who was summoned by Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman, will be the threat faced by the Justice League in Zack Snyder's upcoming movie. The teasing of a black Superman suit also raises the possibility that the Man of Steel will be resurrected in some kind of dark capacity — if not as the main villain, then at least a roadblock for the team to deal with.
That doesn't leave much room for an extra antagonist, unless Justice League is going to be as over-stuffed with new characters as Batman v Superman (and you'd hope DC have learned their lesson this time). I don't think Deathstroke will be in Justice League, but it's quite possible that the movie's mid-credits scene will tease his presence in the DCEU in a way that sets up the main premise of The Batman. I'm so down for that.
Suicide Squad 2
We're heading into fantasy territory now, seeing as Suicide Squad 2 has not even been announced by DC yet, and definitely wouldn't be out until the end of 2019. With no director on board, there wouldn't be any test footage — but that rumor did suggest that Deathstroke could be the villain of a potential sequel to David Ayer's movie. Still, there are other movies coming first which DC are far more likely to be hyping right now.
Just as with last week's surprise announcement that Doug Liman will direct Dark Universe, this Deathstroke teaser seems timed to keep people like me musing the epic potential of the DCEU in the months to come. Job done.
Will Deathstroke be the sole villain of The Batman? And which classic Wilson vs Wayne comic book arc should be adapted by Affleck?