Now that The Batman has taken the world by storm, we can reveal that a special guest makes a cameo near the end.
After Batman has put away the Riddler (Paul Dano), we get a brief scene of the puzzle-obsessed supervillain chilling in his cell in Arkham Asylum. And who should be locked up in the cell right next to him, giving him a creepy pep talk? It's none other than the Joker, played by Eternals star Barry Keoghan.
Of course, the movie doesn’t call him the Joker, but Batman fans recognize the signs: the laughter, the references to clowns, and so on. It’s not subtle. Keoghan’s Joker actually had a whole other scene in the movie, this one shared with Robert Pattinson’s Batman.
Director Matt Reeves ultimately decided to cut this scene, but he really liked it and always intended to share it. And now he’s made good on that promise.
Why did Matt Reeves cut this Joker scene?
As Reeves acknowledged in an interview with Variety, this scene gives off serious Manhunter and The Silence of the Lambs vibes, with Batman going to this deranged criminal to get his perspective on a different deranged criminal. And Joker hits on a lot of points that pay off down the line, including that the Riddler and Batman think alike, and that the Riddler’s quest for vengeance mirrors Batman’s own.
Ultimately, that’s why Reeves decided to cut the scene. “It wasn’t necessary,” the director said. “It was one of those scenes where, given how complex the narrative was, by taking it out, it kept the story moving in a way it needed to.”
He thought about cutting the final scene between Joker and Riddler as well, but left that one in, perhaps as a taste of what’s to come.
How did the Joker get those scars?
There have been many depictions of the Joker over the years, nearly as many as there have been of Batman. It’s difficult to get him to stand out. We get only a few shots of his ragged skin, pockmarked lips, and patchy hair.
Though we never get a clear look at the Joker in the movie, Reeves was definitely thinking about the look, and how it might motivate the character. “He has a congenital disease where he can’t stop smiling and it’s horrific,” Reeves told Variety in another interview. “Even as a child, people looked at him with horror, and his response was to say, ‘OK, so a joke was played on me,’ and this was his nihilistic take on the world."
Will Barry Keoghan return as the Joker?
The final question is whether we’ll see Barry Keoghan’s take on the Joker again in a future movie, or maybe in an HBO Max spinoff show, as we know they’re making one about Arkham Asylum.
While Reeves isn’t committing to anything, the likelihood of Keoghan’s Joker showing up again seems pretty certain. The movie set him up and has taken in more than $600 million worldwide already. While no official announcement has yet been made, it's hard to imagine the studio isn't talking about a potential sequel at this very moment.