True Blood star Joe Manganiello cast as Deathstroke in Batman

He'll be battling the Bat in Ben Affleck's solo movie

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Just weeks after Batman actor Ben Affleck posted a mysterious video of someone dressed as classic DC comics villain Deathstroke, we’ve found out exactly who was under the orange-and-black mask – True Blood actor Joe Manganiello, who will portray the deadly mercenary in Affleck’s solo Batman film.

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DC entertainment president and chief creative officer Geoff Johns confirmed the news in an interview with the Wall Street Journal yesterday, after rumours of Manganiello’s involvement were stoked by the actor posting pictures from London, where DC’s upcoming film slate is being worked on.

Now, with the truth out, Manganiello could afford to be a little less coy about his involvement, tweeting the news out to his followers and finally joining the DC film universe after reportedly coming close to playing both Ben Affleck’s Batman and Henry Cavill’s Superman.

And Deathstroke is no booby prize. First created in 1980 as an enemy for young heroes the Teen Titans, the fan-favourite character (real name Slade Wilson) eventually evolved to become a villain for more established heroes, utilising his prodigious fighting skills, super-strength and reflexes and healing powers to cause headaches for characters including Batman and Green Arrow.

Interestingly, the character is also indirectly responsible for the creation of fourth wall-breaking Marvel antihero Deadpool (as played by Ryan Reynolds in his recent solo movie), who was first intended as an homage to Deathstroke (Deadpool’s real name Wade Wilson compared to Deathstroke’s Slade Wilson is an obvious clue) but eventually turned into the weird and wonderful one-off that he is today.

Manganiello can only hope that his Deathstroke will prove as popular as Reynold’s Deadpool – but either way, we have a couple of years to wait until we find out, with Affleck’s Batman film currently not set for release but rumoured to land sometime in 2018. 

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Hopefully, by then this will prove to have been a stroke of genius.