The Batman surprised fans with the recent release of a major deleted scene featuring Robert Pattinson's Batman meeting with The Joker, who was played by Marvel's Eternals star Barry Keoghan. The scene saw Batman visit Arkham Asylum for a Silence of the Lambs-style interview with Joker about the Riddler case. Keoghan's Joker takes on the Hannibal Lecter role, helping Batman form a profile on The Riddler's serial killings. Director Matt Reeves kept Joker's face slightly blurred behind the glass, or framed in exteme close-up, never fully revealing the vilain's face.
However, it hasn't taken the Internet any time at all to come up with a clearer look at Barry Keoghan's Joker in The Batman:
After one Batman fan did the digital work of cleaning up the Joker image, industry pundit Matt Ramos took it a step further and lightened the image even further:
Reaction to Barry Keoghan's Joker has been mixed. Some viewers find Keoghan's Joker to simply be a chilling rendition of the villain, while DC fans how Matt Reeves seemed to draw inspiration from Batman comics like "Death of the Family". On the other hand, there are criticisms that Keoghan's Joker looks like something from a horror B-movie, and that the character was ultimately kept in an unseen role with good reason.
For his part, Matt Reeves has spoken up to explain his reasoning behind this new Joker look, which comes from the concept of a "Joker who's not yet the Joker":
"He can never stop smiling. And it made Mike [Marino] and I think about — I was talking about The Elephant Man because I love David Lynch. And I was like, 'Well, maybe there's something here where it's not something where he fell in a vat of chemicals or it's not the [Christopher] Nolan thing where he has these scars and we don't know where they came from," Reeves explained to IGN.
"What if this is something that he's been touched by from birth and that he has a congenital disease that refuses to let him stop smiling? And he's had this very dark reaction to it, and he's had to spend a life of people looking at him in a certain way and he knows how to get into your head."
The director finished by saying that "Life has been a cruel joke on him. And this is his response, and he's eventually going to declare himself as a clown, declare himself as the Joker. That was the idea."
It needs to be said again: Reeves has also made it clear this Joker cameo is in no way a direct setup for any Batman sequels, so what you see above is not THE Joker design going forward.
The Batman will be on HBO Max on April 25th.