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Ben Affleck’s Batman Movie Has Found Its Villain

It’s official: The deadliest assassin in the DC Universe will be facing off against the Dark Knight in Ben Affleck’s Batman movie—and suiting up as Deathstroke is none other than True Blood and Magic Mike XXL star Joe Manganiello.

Geoff Johns, president of DC Entertainment and co-chief of DC Movies, confirmed the casting during an interview with The Wall Street Journal. It was also revealed that Johns, who was recently promoted to oversee DC’s film division, is currently writing the solo Batman feature that’s set to be directed by Affleck. In addition to Batman, the prolific comic book writer is working to develop The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg for the big screen. (WSJ also reports that Johns did a rewrite of the Wonder Woman script and worked with director Patty Jenkins to get it right; similarly, he worked with Zack Snyder on rewrites for The Justice League, which is currently filming in London.)

“Mistakenly in the past I think the studio has said, ‘Oh, DC films are gritty and dark and that’s what makes them different.’ That couldn’t be more wrong,” Johns said. “It’s a hopeful and optimistic view of life. Even Batman has a glimmer of that in him. If he didn’t think he’d make tomorrow better, he’d stop.”

Affleck teased Deathstroke’s appearance in a Facebook video he slyly posted a few weeks ago, and Manganiello was also spotted in London sporting a new, Slade Wilson–inspired ‘do. While Deathstroke isn’t one of the Bat’s most infamous foes, he’s certainly one of the more formidable. He’s a highly trained, ruthless assassin who enjoys the thrill of the kill for a handsome price, which makes him a satisfying match for Batman.

Seeing as Deathstroke usually goes toe-to-toe with Nightwing (formerly known as Robin) in the comics, here’s hoping we get some Bat Family cameos in Batfleck’s solo venture. But before the DC Extended Universe can introduce the fam, Batman has to first work on himself. According to WSJ, the Bat’s rather extreme actions in Batman v Superman—a.k.a. torturing criminals and trying to kill Superman — will be addressed in The Justice League.

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