Ben Affleck’s Batman movie clearly isn’t going to happen. The auteur actor toiled for years to find a story that worked but was never happy with his script. He subsequently left, dogged by the onus of writing, directing, and starring.

Plot details from that script, though, with The Batman timidly chugging along toward a delayed production date, are coming to light. A few close to the situation and others who’d have the sources burned up social media with information that Deathstroke was going to be the villain to beat.

Comic-book culture reporter for the Washington Post David Betancourt tweeted in a thread Affleck’s plans were along the lines of Zack Snyder and his one-on-one-match-up world-building. Betancourt called the movie “Batman v Deathstroke Dawn of Vigilantes,” adding it’s something he would like to have seen.

Whether that title is real or not, it offers an intriguing proposition: one of DC’s deadliest assassins doing battle with its alpha anti-hero. The two squared off many times in grudge matches over the years in print and video games.

And there were signs this was to take place on the big screen. Joe Manganiello played Deathstroke in Justice League, setting up for future appearances: either in a solo movie of his own or as a villain in the next Batman.

What Deathstroke may have been up to is not known, but judging by that “title” it sounds like some kind of origin story or a first encounter. He might have even become Batman so maybe there was an attempt on the table to frame him for something and tarnish the image of the Bat — a trope used once before in [easyazon_link identifier=”B001P5QC1U” locale=”US” tag=”boundingintocomics-20″]Mask of the Phantasm[/easyazon_link], and was most recently used in Netflix’s Daredevil series.

Prior to that comment above, Betancourt tweeted his appreciation of Affleck’s turn as Batman, which has its devotees:

“Playing Batman can be a great thing if you’ve got the right material/vision. Keaton. Bale. West. Ben pulled a Ryan Reynolds and walked into his DC role blind. Sad because despite all the drama I did like his take. And he had the most comic accurate suit hands down.”

Betancourt was responding to a story saying George Clooney warned Affleck not to play Batman. Clooney, of course, played the Dark Knight in one of the worst-received sequels in any franchise — 1997’s [easyazon_link identifier=”B001XV75MG” locale=”US” tag=”boundingintocomics-20″]Batman & Robin[/easyazon_link].

It doesn’t end there. Despite his struggles and dissatisfaction, those who’ve seen Affleck’s script really liked it. Storyboard artist and DC Animated film director Jay Oliva tweeted late last year it was the best he ever read:

“The original Affleck script was the best Batman script I’ve ever read. Ben had a kick a– story and I believe that the audience and fans would have loved it.”

Oliva’s tweet got the attention of Manganiello who, obviously agreeing and having read it himself, gave it his approval with a big check mark.

Scuttlebutt is Affleck didn’t exit entirely of his own accord and may have been influenced by the reception of his prior to outings, by audiences and the studio, who interfered quite a bit — especially when it came to those Justice League reshoots.

As Oliva said, there is always someone above you and your pay grade:

“There was a lot happening that is above you and my paycheck. I wish it was as easy as just making it. It had some of the best Batman/ Deathstroke stuff I’d ever done!”

Would you have been stoked for a Deathstroke vs. Batman script? Do you think Affleck left the project for reasons other than his script? Leave us a comment down below.

  • About The Author

    JB Augustine

    Writer, journalist, comic reader. I cover all things DC and Godzilla. Fan since Batman TAS was brand new. Favorite character is between Swamp Thing and Darkwing Duck.