In its penultimate scene, The Batman hits viewers with a shocking reveal: The Joker (Barry Keoghan) already exists in this continuity’s Gotham City, and he’s already been put away in Arkham State Hospital.
The scene sees Keoghan’s Joker, whose appearance is only vaguely shown, forming a quick friendship with Paul Dano’s Riddler. It’s an unnerving moment, and the Joker’s inclusion is the closest The Batman comes to setting up a possible sequel. But it turns out that Matt Reeves originally intended to have his Joker show up twice in The Batman, with one scene being cut from the film.
In a newly released deleted scene, we see Batman interact with the Joker, as well as a clearer glimpse at how Keoghan looks as the infamous villain. Last week, Reeves has revealed some interesting new details about it, including how it would have established a pre-existing relationship between the superhero and his nemesis.
A Visit to Arkham — During a recent appearance on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, The Batman director and co-writer Matt Reeves spoke about the Joker scene that he left out. Reeves explained that the scene, which was meant to happen fairly early, sees Bruce Wayne go to Arkham to speak with the Joker in the hopes of better understanding how the Riddler’s mind works.
However, Reeves said the Joker turns the tables on Batman, manipulating and taunting him rather than giving him the answers he wants. Keoghan’s Joker notes that it’s “almost” his and Batman’s “anniversary” before prodding Pattinson’s masked vigilante by asking him if he’s afraid the Riddler makes him look “weak” and “soft,” or if Batman thinks his newest foe is “more righteous” than him.
In other words, it’s a scene where the Joker demonstrates what Reeves calls his “insidious understanding of psychology,” much in the same way he does when he speaks with Dano’s Edward Nashton near the end of The Batman.
The Future of The Joker — In the same interview, Reeves says the version of the Joker that fans see in The Batman is one who hasn’t yet taken to calling himself by his comic book moniker. He, much like several of the film’s other villains, is in the early stages of his journey to becoming one of Gotham City’s most notorious criminals. The fact that he and Pattinson’s Batman already have a history together should make watching Keoghan’s Joker go on that journey even more fascinating.
That’s assuming, of course, that we get to see that journey. We don’t know for sure whether Reeves will ever return to Keoghan’s Joker in a future Batman sequel or spin-off. The writer-director has been eager to tell fans in several interviews that Keoghan’s cameo in The Batman doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to be the main villain of The Batman 2, or show up in it at all.
The Inverse Analysis — These new details about the Joker’s deleted scene don’t tell us much about what role the character could play in a future installment of Reeves’ growing superhero franchise. That said, if Reeves ever brings Keoghan’s Joker back, it’s clear he has the potential to be even more psychologically manipulative than any previous live-action iterations of the villain. And that’s saying a lot, considering the versions of The Joker that have been brought to life in recent years.
The Batman is now playing in theaters.
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