After years in development, fans got their long-awaited first look at The Batman on Saturday, as part of the DC FanDome virtual convention. In addition to an extensive Q&A with the film's director and co-writer, Matt Reeves, the panel provided a teaser trailer of footage from the film. While the trailer had its own share of interesting and unexpected reveals, another one was actually hidden in plain sight in its promotional material. The official YouTube description for the trailer lists the film's ensemble cast, and reveals that Barry Keoghan has been cast as Officer Stanley Merkel in the upcoming film.
Keoghan is set to play Druid in the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbuster The Eternals. In addition, his filmography includes Dunkirk, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, and Chernobyl. He also was set to star in FX on Hulu's upcoming adaptation of Y: The Last Man but stepped down from the role earlier this year.
In the comics, Stanley Merkel was Jim Gordon's original GCPD partner when he started out in Gotham, and first made his debut in 1987's Batman #405. He made sporadic appearances in the years since, culminating in his death at the hands of the Hangman in the Batman: Dark Victory arc.
Merkel's presence in The Batman is certainly unexpected, especially as Jeffrey Wright will be portraying Gordon in the film. Given Merkel's comic history, it certainly wouldn't be out of the possibility for him to be cannon fodder in the film's plot, and potentially die at the hands of The Riddler or some other mysterious figure.
The Batman will see Pattinson bringing about an entirely new take on the character, with a cast that also includes Colin Farrell as The Penguin, Paul Dano as The Riddler, Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, John Turturro as Carmine Falcone, Peter Sarsgaard as Gil Colson, Jayme Lawson as Bella Real, and Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth.
"It's not an origin tale, and you're meeting him in the early days," Reeves explained during DC FanDome. "What's really important about this iteration is that you know a lot of the other stories are about how he had to master his fear and master himself in order to become Batman and that in that Batman state, he's sort of in his best self, and I think for me, what was exciting was not doing that, not doing the origin, not doing what we've seen done so beautifully in other movies, but instead to meet him in the middle of this criminological experiment to see him in the becoming of Batman and to see him make mistakes as Batman, see him grow and fail and be heroic do all of the things that we associate with Batman but in a way that felt very human and very flawed."
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