We recently got word that actor Joe Manganiello is in talks to join Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and director Bray Peyton's Rampage movie, based on the popular '80s arcade game.
While it's good to see a talented actor like Manganiello branching out, it's hard to wonder if this casting announcement isn't ominously timed. After all, Joe Manganiello was set to star opposite Ben Affleck in The Batman, but now that the movie has gone through a major creative shake up, that may no longer be the case.
So: Is Joe Manganiello Leaving The Batman for Rampage?
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The fact is that Rampage is currently headed into production, as the film is slated to hit theaters on April 20, 2018. With the amount of F/X work that's needed post-production, filming will have to get underway soon. If Manganiello is joining the cast, he will be headed out to film for a few months out of this year, based on the size of his role (military unit leader).
DC/WB is rumored to want production on The Batman to also begin this year; if Manganiello is now looking for other films to occupy a production period previously held for The Batman, it would suggest that he may no longer have filming to do for the movie.
We just got word that The Batman is getting a fresh creative start, after Ben Affleck dropped out of directing. Part of that report suggested that a whole new script may be written for the film, and that major characters in the original script (Manganiello's Deathstroke and Jared Leto's Joker) may not have major roles (or any roles) in the new script.
If that's true, it would make sense for Manganiello to be quietly moving to a new film, now, before the official announcement of The Batman's new creative direction.
We already know that Joe Manganiello's Deathstroke will be introduced in Justice League, and the actor probably has a few DC Film obligations already built into his contract. That's all to say: even if Manganiello has left The Batman in order to join Rampage, it may not be a permanent departure - just a hiatus until a later date, when The Batman is actually ready for production.
The truth is that the DCEU is still on shaky, uncertain, legs in terms of building itself up. For every plan that's made, another one gets scrapped, and new revisions made. We're sure Joe Manganiello's Deathstroke/Slade Wilson will have a presence in the DCEU - just maybe not as soon as we thought, or in the place that we thought.
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Justice League will open in theaters on November 17, 2017. The Batman release date is TBD.