Matt Reeves' The Batman is currently smashing box office records by being the second film to break $100 million since the pandemic began, but all many can think about is what the director has planned for the sequel. The Robert Pattinson-led reboot of the Caped Crusader teases at least several classic and modern Batman villains, but the only one on fans' minds is the Joker.
However, despite the ending directly teasing Barry Keoghan's Joker to audiences, director Matt Reeves clarified that this wasn't a guarantee that Keoghan's Joker would return in the sequel. Instead, Reeves explained that "it finishes the Riddler's arc" and that he felt The Batman would be lesser without it.
But, the post-credits scene of The Batman showed audiences a link to Riddler's website seen in the film, which sported a slowly progressing loading screen. Many had anticipated a tease for the sequel, which it appeared to be, as it came with a message from Riddler saying how he's safe in Arkham with his new friend and that, "We will see you soon."
Despite all this, Reeves is still dodgy about when and where Keoghan's Joker will appear next in a new interview.
Joker's Insidious View of Human Nature
In an interview with Den of Geek, director Matt Reeves was asked if he felt the need to reinvent the Joker, like he did the Riddler, in any future sequels to The Batman.
Reeves reaffirmed that the Joker's appearance in the ending of The Batman was "more contextual" and not a clue to the sequel as Reeves "can't say" if they will "do him specifically" in any sequels or not:
"His appearance at the end of the movie is really more contextual, so I can't say whether we would do him specifically in the movies or not."
However, he continues to describe his interpretation of the Joker, once again referring to The Man That Laughs and how Keoghan is "a pre-Joker Joker:"
"What you're seeing is a pre-Joker Joker actually, we'd go back to the Conrad Veidt—The Man That Laughs inspiration, which is the Bob Kane/Bill Finger reference."
The director draws comparisons to The Phantom of the Opera and how Reeves' Joker would be incapable of not smiling due to a congenital disease and how, in contrast to how The Elephant Man showed how a "grotesque outward appearance belied the beauty inside," it would instead inform Joker's "insidious" view of the world and people:
"Obviously, that guy has a congenital disease, it's like The Phantom of the Opera, he can't not smile and that instead of being the story of The Elephant Man, where all of his grotesque outward appearance belied the beauty inside, that this would form his nihilistic world view and that he would have an insidious understanding of human nature and so that's kinda where this psychology comes from and who this guy would be."
Where Will The Batman's Joker Appear Next?
Much of what Matt Reeves said in this interview about the Joker has been said before, but it's noteworthy and understandable that Joker's future in his universe still isn't set in stone. After all, as Reeves points out, this is a "pre-Joker" Joker who has yet to become the Clown Prince of Crime.
It was also revealed that the Gotham PD show for HBO Max has "evolved" into a series focused on Arkham Asylum. Reeves even equated it to "a horror movie or a haunted house," which would explore "the world of Arkham as it relates coming off of [The Batman]."
So, considering the ending of The Batman, along with the Riddler's cryptic message on his website, it's highly likely that Paul Dino's Riddler and Barry Keoghan's Joker will make an appearance in this Arkham Asylum-focused series after having become friends.
The Batman is currently playing in theaters with a sequel expected to release in "less than five years."