'The Batman' Quietly Casts Barry Keoghan As Officer Stanley Merkel

Following the buzzy panel for The Batman at this past weekend's virtual DC FanDome event (where we learned that Colin Farrell with a ton of prosthetics looks a lot like Richard Kind), Warner Bros. quietly slipped in a new piece of casting news in its press release for the highly anticipated Matt Reeves superhero movie. Barry Keoghan was revealed to be joining The Batman cast in the press release, and the young actor will be appearing as a character named Officer Stanley Merkel.

Barry Keoghan Joins The Batman Cast

It seemed like the buzz could not be higher for The Batman, with each piece of news frantically pored over and taken apart by fans. But Warner Bros. may have considered one piece of news not big enough for a flashy announcement, quietly introducing a piece of casting in a press release sent out during DC FanDome. Warner Bros. revealed that Dunkirk star Barry Keoghan, who is set to star in a Marvel superhero movie in the upcoming The Eternals, has joined The Batman cast as a character named Officer Stanley Merkel.

Fans of the Batman comic books may know Merkel as Commissioner James Gordon's first partner, first introduced by Frank Miller in 1987's Batman Year One and subsequently killed by Sofia Falcone in Batman: Dark Victory.

Considering that Reeves confirmed that The Batman will draw inspiration from Batman: Year Two and follow the Caped Crusader in his second year of crimefighting, as he's taking part in a "criminological experiment" to try to change Gotham for the better, it makes sense that a character from Gordon's early career will appear in the film. Though there is more of a significant age gap between Keoghan (who, like The Batman star Robert Pattinson, carved out a niche with films from indie studio A24) and Jeffrey Wright's Gordon than the same characters have in the comics. Keoghan is probably best associated with his creepy, sociopathic turns in films like Yorgos Lanthimos' The Killing of a Sacred Deer, which makes me think he'll put a more sinister turn on the character of Stanley Merkel. Though he's got a major role in The Eternals coming up, I wonder if Keoghan will keep hanging out in Gotham City, with Reeves' teasing of a Gotham PD series that will spin off from the film following its corrupt police force. That would give Keoghan a lot of meat (or spaghetti) to chew on.

The Batman stars Robert Pattinson as Batman; Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman; Paul Dano as The Riddler; Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Gordon; John Turturro as Carmine Falcone; Peter Sarsgaard as Gil Colson, Gotham's district attorney; Jayme Lawson as Bella Reál, a mayoral candidate in Gotham; Andy Serkis as Alfred; and Colin Farrell as the Penguin.The Batman opens October 1, 2021.