The Marvel Universe and the DC universe are two massive franchises that rarely crossover. There are many examples of actors working in both universes, but they’re usually in different eras, like how two different Batmen — Christian Bale and Michael Keaton — went on to play two Marvel villains in Spider-Man: Homecoming and the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder.
But could an actor from the most recent Marvel movie make an immediate jump to the DC Universe in one of its most infamous roles? Several leaks and rumors suggest that might be possible.
Eternals actor Barry Keoghan wowed audiences as mind-controlling rogue Eternal, Druig, but a rumor from multiple sources claims his upcoming role as Stanley Merkel in The Batman isn’t all it claims to be. According to a blind item from celebrity gossip source deuxmoi, Keoghan’s role might actually turn out to be The Joker.
Just the one rumor wouldn’t be much to write home about, but these three leaks, though deleted, cast doubt on Keoghan’s supposedly innocuous role.
Could this be the first example of a Marvel actor actively playing a major role in the DC Universe? It certainly seems like a waste to cast a rising star like Keoghan as Stanley Merkel, the early partner of Commissioner Jim Gordon. It’s fair to speculate if this role could be the prelude to a major foe in Batman’s future after the Dark Knight faces off against the Penguin and Riddler.
However exciting this rumor may be, it could cause problems for the two huge franchises. Marvel may not be starting production for Eternals 2 yet, but DC isn’t beginning production on the sequel to The Batman either. There’s a chance Keoghan’s schedule could impact or delay one film or the other.
Scheduling conflicts aside, this is a good omen for the future of Marvel and DC. If this one actor can juggle two, it could mean others can do the same. The days of actors choosing one or the other — Scarlett Johansson to Marvel, Ben Affleck to DC — are over. Finally, we could see actors crossing those streams and allowing for more availability between the two superhero franchises — although it may make a potential crossover a bit of an issue.
The Batman opens in theaters on March 4, 2022.