According to industry insiders at the Wrap and the Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. is working to develop a film around the DC Comics villain Deathstroke. The role will be played by actor Joe Manganiello, who was previously attached to play the assassin opposite Ben Affleck in "The Batman." The studio began discussing the project with Gareth Evans, whose credits include writing and directing "The Raid" series of films. For his part, Evans seemed to hint at the project days ago when he posted a picture of a Deathstroke mask on his Instagram account.

Manganiello's future as Deathstroke was previously in doubt

The actor first became attached to the role in 2016 when Affleck tweeted what appeared to be a screen test of Manganiello in costume. The clip immediately went viral and the Deathstroke casting was met with mostly praise and only increased anticipation of a Batman film written by, directed by, and starring Affleck. However, when Affleck stepped down from the director's chair and was replaced by Matt Reeves the original script was tossed and the idea of Deathstroke on film became less likely. Reeves previously stated his intent to write a noir, detective-driven Batman movie, and it is unclear how, if at all, Manganiello would fit in that plan.

The film joins plans for other villain-focused DC Films

As fans prepare for the November release of "Justice League," it's clear with this Deathstroke news that Warner Bros. and DC Comics are moving full steam ahead with their cinematic universe. Other films in the pipeline include a "Wonder Woman" sequel with Gal Gadot, "Flashpoint" featuring Ezra Miller's Flash, and "Shazam!

" But what's interesting is how this film relates to others that center on villains or anti-heroes, as was the case with 2016's "Suicide Squad." There are already plans for a sequel to that film as well as a spinoff for Jared Leto's Joker and Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn.

Rumors also circulated about a feature film for Will Smith's Deadshot character and a Robbie-led "Gotham Sirens" that would also feature Catwoman and Poison Ivy.

Add in a Joker origin film written by Todd Phillips and possibly involving Martin Scorsese (existing outside of the established shared universe) and it seems as though the stuio is willing to take more risks with the comic book characters at its disposal. The popularity of Deathstroke with fans, combined with the talent of Manganiello and Evans, likely makes that decision much easier.