While Robert Pattinson's The Batman is the third take on the caped crusader in the past decade, March's reboot promises to do something no other Bruce Wayne-centered film has done before. The Batman is set to be the first piece of the much bigger puzzle Warner Brothers is building around the titular character. Even before it lands in theaters, The Batman has already launched two spin-off projects centered around its supporting heroes and villains.
Even with multiple projects existing in this one character's cinematic universe, Batman is a hero that has no shortage of supporting players. Beyond his trusted companions, the dark knight has a rogues' gallery rivaled by few.
With the Riddler, Catwoman, and Penguin all being used in varying capacities in this first film, future Batman sequels will likely dive deeper into the hero's vast vat of villains. Among those antagonists could be Mr. Freeze and the Court of Owls, both of which have been teased by Pattinson and director Matt Reeves.
As wide-ranging as Batman villain discussion can get, conversation will always come back to one name: Joker. The clown prince of crime has been exhausted this century, appearing as a central character in video games, ensemble movies, television shows, animated programs, and even his own solo film.
That said, what is a Batman project without the Joker? After all, they are "destined to do this forever."
While the character has never been confirmed for The Batman, rumors have swirled for months about Joker showing up in the film. The Direct exclusively reported on plans for a new Joker to be used in Reeves' trilogy's "second and third movies," with the iconic antagonist first being "referenced" in The Batman.
At the time of that report, casting for the role had "not yet begun," but in years since, one notable actor joined the cast. Barry Keoghan, who recently played Druig in Marvel's Eternals, has a role in The Batman, one which he has repeatedly refused to elaborate on. Keoghan's brother jokingly responded to the fans' connection of imaginary dots this past fall, posting on Facebook that his "brother [is] playing the JOKER in the new Batman."
While many took this as a tongue-in-cheek comment, new evidence suggests Keoghan could be playing Mr. J after all.
Batman Credit Sheet Hints at Joker
Mr. Wayne, you have become part of a bigger Gotham, you just don't know it yet.
Ahead of The Batman's release, the film's official credits sheet has surfaced online. Actor Barry Keoghan, who was initially announced to be playing Gotham City Police Officer Stanley Merkel in the film, is listed as "Unseen Arkham Prisoner."
Beyond that, the credits list one crew member, Mike Marino, as the prosthetics designer for both "The Penguin & Unseen Arkham Prisoner."
Considering the extensive prosthetics work done for Colin Farrell's Penguin, this credit suggests the mystery "Arkham Prisoner" will have significant alterations to his appearance.
Barry Keoghan's Clown Prince of Crime?
Nothing within these credits certifies that Keoghan is rocking facepaint for The Batman, but the stars are aligning.
This "Unseen Arkham Prisoner" is listed among specified roles like Alfred and District Attorney Gil Colson, as well as more vague (yet still named) characters like Carla and Annika. Keeping Keoghan's character a mystery indicates he will be playing someone of significance.
If Keoghan is playing the Joker, expect this Stanley Merkel role to be nothing more than a red herring ahead of the film. Considering anonymity is a key characteristic of the Joker, it's highly unlikely Matt Reeves and company would alter the villain's origins and make him a cop gone bad.
You Wanna Know How He Got Those Scars?
If Keoghan's character listing wasn't suspicious enough, the crew listing for "Prosthetic Design - The Penguin & Unseen Arkham Prisoner" should set off alarms. Colin Farrell notably transformed himself to become Oswald Cobblepot, donning both facial and bodily prosthetics which made the Irish actor unrecognizable in the role. Having the same crew member doing prosthetics for Keoghan suggests his mystery character will undergo a similar transformation.
While a Joker get-up would be mostly facepaint, Keoghan would need some prosthetics to complete the look. Beyond the red smile and black eyeshadow, facial scars are integral to Mr. J's appearance.
How Joker Factors Into The Batman's Story
While there is every possibility Joker appears in this movie, this is very much a Riddler-centered Batman film. Even Farrell's Penguin only has "five or six scenes" within the two hours and 55 minutes of runtime.
Joker's presence in The Batman would be just that, a presence. As for what he'd be doing, the credit sheet tells all: his scene would take place inside Arkham Asylum, where he resides as a prisoner.
On top of that, there's reason to believe Keoghan doesn't even show face as Joker in this film. Listing him as "unseen" implies his role is off-camera, meaning he could just show up vocally, cackling that iconic laugh out of frame. That, or Keoghan does his best Professor X impression and gets one blurred, behind the back shot that reveals his green hair.
Either way, Keoghan's "Unseen Arkham Prisoner" has just become The Batman's top post-credits candidate.
The Batman hits theaters on March 4.