Let's Talk About That Big The Batman Cameo, And What It Means

"The Batman" doesn't follow in the footsteps of many comic book movies by having any kind of credits scene — there's a fun little Easter egg at the very end of the credits, but it's not a lead-in to a potential follow-up. But "The Batman" still manages to set up a sequel that appears to already be in development via a scene that could have easily been included in the credits. Instead, director Matt Reeves chose to include this moment as the penultimate scene of the film, and it features a cameo that will undoubtedly have fans buzzing about what's to come. 

But in order to dig into this scene, we must head into major spoiler territory, so if you haven't seen "The Batman," turn back now.

Riddler finds a friend

Though the Riddler is apprehended by the Gotham City Police Department and locked up, there's a much larger plan that unfolds involving a small squad of insurrectionists who plan to completely dismantle Gotham, starting with the city's new mayor just as she's about to claim victory in Gotham Square Garden. Though Batman fails to stop a cataclysmic series of explosions that cause the nearby river to completely flood the city, he ends up stopping all of Riddler's loyal supporters turned armed terrorists, ultimately foiling the villain's big plan.

Now locked up, presumably in Arkham Asylum, Riddler is distraught when he sees on the news that his grand scheme ended up being thwarted. But he's about to get some sympathy from a nearby neighbor. Through a small cell door opening, we see a dark, obscured face that has clearly been disfigured in a significant way. He comments on Riddler's failed plan, but it doesn't sound like he's taunting the fellow criminal. Instead, this prisoner might be keen on hatching a new plan with the puzzling madman. The prisoner begins: 

"Isn't that just terrible? Them raining on your parade like that? What is it they say? One day you're on top, the next you're a clown. Well, let me tell you, there are worse things to be."

Riddler begins to moan and cry, sounding similar to Dwight Schrute from "The Office" when he's at his most depressed. But this mysterious prisoner tries to help Riddler feel better. He quickly adds, "Don't be sad. You did so well, and you know, Gotham loves a comeback story." This prompts Riddler to ask, "Who are you?" The prisoner gets a little more playful:

"Well, that's the question, isn't it? Riddle me this, the less of them you have, the more one is worth."

Riddler whispers, "A friend." The obscured criminal begins laughing unsettlingly, only a bit at first, then slowly more maniacal, and Riddler joins in, their laughs echoing the quiet hallways of Arkham Asylum.

I don't know about you, but I think this guy is a real... Joker. And even though you will have some difficulty recognizing who that mysterious prisoner is thanks to his obscured profile and the scene's low light, the actor is none other than "Eternals" and "Dunkirk" star Barry Keoghan.

So there you go: it certainly looks like Batman's most dangerous rogues may be teaming up in the sequel. 

Barry Keoghan as the Joker

There were rumors of Barry Keoghan having a secret role in "The Batman" last year, with some reports indicating that he might be playing a new version of the Joker. Though he's only credited as "Unseen Arkham Prisoner" in the official credits, the dialogue and facial disfigurement certainly suggests that Barry Keoghan is playing Batman's ultimate nemesis.

Initially, it was reported there were two cuts of "The Batman" being screened behind the scenes. One of the cuts was said to include the scene that featured Barry Keoghan, while the other did not. However, it seems there was another Barry Keoghan scene that was filmed and left out of the movie altogether. 

TechRadar spoke with Matt Reeves about the rumors regarding Barry Keoghan's role in "The Batman," and there may have been two scenes with Barry Keoghan in the film at some point. Reeves explained:

"There were scenes we cut that I liked... In fact, there's a scene with the unseen prisoner, who appears at the end of the movie in Arkham with the Riddler. There was an earlier scene where Batman went to Arkham to try to profile the Riddler, and Barry is in that scene. It's a very cool scene, and I'm sure we'll release the scene after the movie comes out, because it's a really cool deleted scene."

So in addition to the scene towards the end of the film, it seems Barry Keoghan might have been present during the sequence where Batman goes to speak with Riddler by way of the prison phone booth. Why was the scene cut? Perhaps it undercut the intensity of the interaction between Batman and Riddler. After all, that scene slowly builds in tension and anger as Batman realizes there's more to the criminal's plan, all while Riddler himself realizes that Batman hasn't actually been helping him this entire time, a misconception that could only be presumed by a psychopath.

Do we really need another Joker?

Look, I know that Joker is basically Batman's arch nemesis, but between Jared Leto as Joker in "Suicide Squad" and Joaquin Phoenix going in an even more deranged direction in "Joker," not to mention all of his other appearances in video games, comics, merchandise, and more, the villain has become overexposed. Sure, the prospect of Barry Keoghan's Joker teaming up with Paul Dano's Riddler for that teased comeback has at least some potential, but I just wish Matt Reeves would dig into Batman's extensive rouges gallery for someone else. While I'm confident Reeves and Keoghan will ultimately deliver a substantially different Clown Prince of Crime than we've seen in recent years, there are far more interesting bad guys and gals just waiting to trade blows with Batman on the big screen. 

"The Batman" is playing in theaters everywhere now.