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Credit: Warner Bros.

WIRE Buzz: Joe Manganiello talks Ben Affleck's Fincher-inspired Batman; new Doctor Who radio dramas; more

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Dec 8, 2020, 10:45 PM EST

Ben Affleck's vision for his aborted big screen Batman adventure "was really cool, really dark and really hard."

That's the word from Joe Manganiello, who was set to play the Caped Crusader's arch enemy, Slade Wilson, aka the super assassin Deathstroke, before Affleck bowed out from co-writing and directing the film in early 2017. Matt Reeves took the reigns, jettisoning Affleck's script, putting Robert Pattinson in the cowl, and going in a different direction focused on Batman's detective roots and a rogue's gallery of supervillains.

But as Manganiello tells Yahoo Entertainment, Affleck's solo outing went deeper into the psychological, taking inspiration from David Fincher's 1997 thriller, The Game. In that flick, Michael Douglas played a wealthy banker who participates in a real-life game only to get caught up in a shadowy conspiracy that makes it difficult to separate the game from reality.

According to Manganiello, Affleck's take would've put Batman in a similar scenario, whereby Deathstroke would've stripped Bruce Wayne of everything he holds dear and destroyed his status as Gotham's favorite son and vigilante savior.

"There were similarities to The Game," Manganiello told the site. "It was a really dark story in which Deathstroke was like a shark or a horror movie villain that was dismantling Bruce’s life from the inside out. It was this systemic thing: He killed everyone close to Bruce and destroyed his life to try and make him suffer because he felt that Bruce was responsible for something that happened to him."

While Reeves' The Batman is set to unspool on Mar. 4, 2022, Manganiello's Deathstroke is being resurrected as part of Zach Snyder's Justice League, hitting HBO Max in 2021.

Credit: BBC

Get ready TARDIS fans: one of your favorite Time Lords is regenerating for a series of Doctor Who audio dramas.

David Tennant, who played the tenth incarnation of The Doctor in BBC's long-running sci-fi series, will reprise his role for Doctor Who — Tenth Doctor, Classic Companions, a trilogy of audio adventures from Big Finish.

And per Gizmodo, the project will reunite the character with several of his most popular sidekicks over the decades. They include Sophie Aldred, better known as Ace alongside the Seventh Doctor; Louise Jameson, aka Leela the warrior opposite the Fourth Doctor; Sarah Sutton once again playing Nyssa, who costarred opposite the Fourth and Fifth Time Lords; and John Leeson who's back as the voice of the robotic pup K9.

The Doctor and K9 will embark on a quest to clear up Time War fallout among other storylines, which were recorded during the pandemic lockdown.

“It’s been one of the great unexpected delights of being locked in one’s house for months on end, that this was something I was able to do. To be not only doing all these wonderful stories but to be appearing alongside people like Louise Jameson, John Leeson, Sarah Sutton and Sophie Aldred, it’s been just such a treat. I’ve loved it. It’s always such a lovely thing to return to this show,” Tennant said in a statement.

Doctor Who — Tenth Doctor, Classic Companions is now available for pre-order and is scheduled for release sometime in 2022.

National Geographic is hoping to take another giant leap for mankind.

The cable network has given the go-ahead for Return to the Moon, an event series that will chronicle the progress of NASA's Artemis program, which aims to land the first woman and next man on the Moon's south pole by 2024.

The ambitious new mission is the successor to the space agency's Apollo program, which famously put Neil Armstrong on the Moon, the first human being to ever walk on another planetary body.

Deadline reports the tentatively titled Nat Geo series will film over the next four years and be led by an all-star documentary team composed of Oscar-winning producer Simon Chinn (Man on Wire and Searching for Sugar Man), Emmy-winning producer Jonathan Chinn (American High), and Sundance award-winning director Jerry Rothwell (How to Change the World).

Return to the Moon will shoot on 4K on prime lenses and utilize original recordings from NASA in collaboration with the agency.

Given how frequently NASA's plans for deep space travel have been waylaid by lack of funding over the years and by new priority directives from incoming administrations, let's hope they get there.