The Batman is finally in theaters, which means there is a whole lot to unpack. The film is full of iconic Batman villains—from gangsters Carmine Falcone and the Penguin to the film’s big bad, the Riddler. And then there’s the Caped Crusader’s forever complicated relationship with Catwoman. But there’s one major villain who creeps into the fold towards the end, and we almost met them a lot earlier in the film.
Towards the very, very end of the film, we finally learn who Barry Keoghan plays. And while “Unseen Arkham Prisoner” has a slightly underwhelming ring to it, most people can correctly guess who that actually is. Yep, it’s the Joker. It’s a masterful bit of casting given how utterly terrifying Keoghan is in The Killing of a Sacred Deer. (And then, of course, his sinister small part in The Green Knight. A spooky king!)
In Keoghan’s lone scene, he commiserates with Arkham’s newest prisoner, Paul Dano’s Riddler, in the next cell. But according to Reeves, there was one other scene featuring Keoghan as the Joker. The deleted scene, which took place much earlier in the film, sees Batman seeking out the particular inmate for advice about his current riddle-loving foe. Reeves spoke to Variety of the scene, which he cut to keep the story moving. (And clocking in at nearly three hours, that makes a whole lot of sense.)
In the scene, Batman visits his mysterious old foe for advice on how the Riddler thinks, only to be told, per Reeves, “What do you mean, you want to know how he thinks? You guys think the same.” Given the parallels between Edward Nashton and Bruce Wayne, it’s a particularly interesting bit of foreshadowing. It does makes sense why Reeves cut it. But we can certainly see this small scene play out brilliantly between Keoghan and Robert Pattinson. Don’t worry, though, Reeves told Collider that he fully intends to release The Batman deleted scene.
So does this mean Keoghan is a sure-fire villain in the next Batman movie? Well, no. He told Variety that he didn’t include the Joker to tee up a sequel at all. Instead, it was more of an examination of Gotham City as a whole—and the danger lurking around the corner. He said, “The idea was more to say, ‘Hey, look, if you think that trouble is going to go away in Gotham, you can forget it. It’s already here. And it’s already delicious.’”
Still, though, despite the many, many depictions of the Joker already in existence, I do hope we haven’t seen the last of Keoghan in the role. After all, there’s always that Arkham Asylum spinoff Reeves is working on.