Don't Assume The Batman Sequel Will Bring Back [REDACTED]

Warning: This article contains major spoilers for "The Batman." Please proceed with caution.

In a world where almost every movie is expected to get a sequel, particularly ones based on ridiculously popular comic book characters, it's perfectly natural for the audience to assume that a movie like "The Batman," which is already set to be a jumping off point for TV spinoffs about Gotham PD and the Penguin, would also set the stage for the next feature film following Robert Pattinson's Caped Crusader. And there's a certain scene in "The Batman" that seems tailor-made for setting up a sequel. However, director Matt Reeves says that, unlike most superhero movies that introduce a new villain at the very end, the final scene in Arkham Asylum was never intended as sequel bait.

Jokes and riddles

After Paul Dano's Riddler gets captured by the police and is subsequently devastated by Batman's rejection of him, we find him back in his cell at Arkham Asylum. That's when he finally makes a friend in the form of a fellow prisoner who seems to get what Edward Nashton is all about. As soon as we hear the unseen prisoner (played by "Eternals" and "The Green Knight" star Barry Keoghan) unleash his maniacal laugh, the natural assumption is that the Joker will be in the (almost inevitable) sequel to "The Batman."

But that's not how Reeves sees it. In an interview with Variety, he shares that the purpose of this scene with Riddler and Joker in Arkham is simply to establish that Gotham is already in a world of trouble, despite Bruce Wayne's best efforts:

"It's not an Easter egg scene. It's not one of those end credits Marvel or DC scenes where it's going, like, 'Hey, here's the next movie!' In fact, I have no idea when or if we would return to that character in the movies... I never was trying to say like, 'Hey, guess what, here's the Joker. Next movie!' The idea was more to say, 'Hey, look, if you think that trouble is going to go away in Gotham, you can forget it. It's already here. And it's already delicious.'"

While I'm sure that Reeves believes what he says, because it definitely makes a lot of sense, I feel like there's at least a small part of him that knows that the Joker will be back. Maybe not immediately, but eventually and almost certainly sooner rather than later. DC and Warner Bros. refuse to let the Clown Prince of Crime rest. Despite Batman having an extensive gallery of rogues, most of whom have yet to be used in a live-action project, the movies tend to constantly revisit the same villains over and over again — and I highly doubt that they would bring in an actor like Barry Keoghan for a cameo without intending to utilize him more in the near future.

Even the people that crave new foes for the Batman will be interested in that. The plot could even draw from Tom King's phenomenal "War of Jokes and Riddles" storyline that set Riddler and Joker against one another with Batman and Gotham caught in the middle. If we're going to get the same characters in these movies repeatedly, at least let's get them in new and interesting tales like this one. But regardless of which route this story takes, especially with an announcement of a sequel almost guaranteed at this point after its stellar performance in its opening weekend, it will be interesting to see how things play out for the future of the Battinson franchise, whether it involves the Joker or not.

"The Batman" is in theaters now.