Warning: This article contains spoilers for The Batman.
The Batman details the birth of a new iteration of the Dark Knight — Robert Pattinson’s mopey, mop-haired weirdo— but it also offers origins for a trio of his most iconic enemies as well. Paul Dano’s Riddler serves as the movie’s main antagonist, with Colin Farrell’s Penguin and Zoe Kravitz’s Catwoman also in the mix. But, given that this is just the beginning of the Batverse, at least one more familiar villain from the comics is hinted at as well.
Spoilers to follow.
At the end of the film, once the Riddler is incarcerated in Arkham Asylum, he strikes up a friendship with the inmate in the cell next to his, in a partnership that can only mean trouble for Gotham. The mysterious individual, who is never directly shown and not named in the credits, drops a reference to clowns and concludes the scene by sharing a psychotic laugh with Edward Nashton. There’s only one person this can be, right?
Yes, director Matt Reeves has now confirmed that the Riddler’s new pal is indeed the one and only Joker. While speaking to IGN, the director teased that the Harlequin of Hate originally had a different entrance in the film, although he was determined to get him in there somewhere as he wanted to explore a version of the Joker who “is not yet the Joker.”
“What’s interesting is that the reason that Joker’s in the movie is there was actually another scene that was earlier,” Reeves explained. “And because the movie is not an origin tale for Batman, but it’s his early days, it really is an origin tale for the Rogue’s Gallery’s characters. And for me, I think [it’s] this idea that the Joker is not yet the Joker, but they already have this relationship.”
And playing the Batverse’s Joker is none other than Barry Keoghan, who only just joined the MCU with Marvel’s Eternals — he played Druig in that 2021 release. Though the Irish actor only has a couple of minutes of screentime stuck in the shadows here, we’d be very surprised if he didn’t have a much bigger role in the second movie, or perhaps even in one of the many spinoffs that Warner Bros. has in the works. Maybe that Arkham Asylum series Reeves recently announced was in development.
The Batman is now in theaters.