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Justice League's original post-credits scene may have featured an epic battle

The Snyder Cut is officially happening. And with the truly unbelievable announcement that HBO Max will indeed play host to the fabled alternate version of the DCEU's disastrous superhero crossover flick Justice League, speculation has already begun about what may or may not be headed our way when it arrives in 2021.

For those who haven't been following the ongoing #ReleasetheSnyderCut saga, it spawned as a reaction to the reported changes made to Snyder's Justice League prior to its theatrical release, and has been raging online ever since. As a reminder, Snyder was forced to step away from his directing duties on Justice League to deal with an unthinkable family tragedy. With no timetable set for Snyder to return to Justice League, Warner Bros. opted to bring in Joss Whedon to finish the film. Whedon ended up rewriting most of the script, and reportedly re-shot more than half of what already existed of the unfinished film.

In doing so, he delivered a wildly uneven film that missed the mark with fans and critics, and essentially ended the "shared" aspect of DC's burgeoning super-universe. That ultimately may be a good thing, as it allowed DC to successfully change course with the stand-alone releases that followed. Still, fans of what Snyder had already brought to the DCEU via 2013's Man of Steel and 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice were more than a little miffed that Whedon's far-reaching changes ultimately undermined Snyder's sweeping vision for the entire DC Universe

Per a recent tweet from Joe Manganiello, it seems one of the bigger changes Whedon made to Justice League was an end-credit scene in which the actor appeared as one of DC's bigger bads, Deathstroke. And if Manganiello's cryptic post (featuring the words "The original end credit scene..." followed by emoji of crossed swords, a bat, and a skull) is accurate, it seems he was originally supposed to throw down with the Batfleck himself in what would've been a true post-credit shocker. 

What that post-credit scene might've meant for the DCEU

For those with short memories (or those who didn't stick around for Justice League's credits), it's worth noting there were, in fact, two end-credit scenes. The first featured a light-hearted race between Henry Cavill's Superman and Ezra Miller's Flash. The second was far more ominous, and featured Jesse Eisenberg's supervillain Lex Luthor living the high life on a yacht in a tropical paradise. It also saw a masked man DC fans immediately recognized as Deathstroke boarding the ship, and apparently being recruited by Luthor to join his burgeoning alliance of supervillains.

Joe Manganiello was indeed the man behind Deathstroke's mask. The iconic villain's unexpected entry into the DCEU was clearly a welcome surprise for fans who stuck around to witness it, if only because it appeared to signal big things were on the cinematic horizon for the murderous mercenary. Seems part of the original plan was not only to posit the villain as the primary antagonist in the now scrapped Ben Affleck Batman flick, but also to give Manganiello's Deathstroke his own movie. Those plans are obviously iffy at best these days.

While the presumably Whedon-helmed scene with Lex Luthor didn't derail that possibility, Snyder clearly had great ambitions for the nefarious Deathstroke. Given the villain's particularly tricky history with the Dark Knight, it's one that likely would've sent the Bat-fandom into a frenzy, particularly as Deathstroke is one of the more major DC baddies who had never appeared on the big screen in live action. 

Bringing the character in via full-on fisticuffs with Batman would not only have been a cinematic sight to be hold, but also a firm promise of more solo Batman action to come. Now that we know the footage is apparently out there, it would seem almost criminal of Snyder not to include it in his new cut of Justice League, even if that full-on big screen Batfleck-Deathstroke clash is never to be.