There's A Tiny, Chilling Detail In That Deleted Scene From The Batman

While Robert Pattinson's Batman is searching for The Riddler (Paul Dano), it seems he's letting his detective skills fall wayside. This week, Warner Bros. released a deleted scene from "The Batman" in which the caped crusader meets The Joker (Barry Keoghan) for a little bit of armchair psychology. Apparently, in the process, he also fails to solve The Case of The Missing Paper Clip. Luckily, we're on the case, too.

The first mention of a paper clip appears to have come on Twitter, when user @Hawkmansworld shared two side-by-side screencaps of the Riddler file alongside the caption "Joker took the paper clips."

Upon closer inspection, it's clear that the file folder the two men intensely slide back and forth to each other does lose at least one paper clip in the process. When it's slid under the glass partition and into Joker's scarred hands, it has at least four visible paper clips — two atop the photos, one on the side of the photos, and one on the bottom of the file. When it's returned later in the scene, the side paper clip is gone. Spooky! Take a second look at the evidence below:

The case of the missing paper clip

There's a case to be made for the missing paper clip being intentional, but there's also the chance it could be a continuity error. After all, the scene already directly contradicts the movie's other supplemental materials when Joker says The Riddler — who, otherwise, is spot on in his observations–is "so meticulous, like he's been planning this his whole life." For one thing, The Riddler crime scenes aren't meticulous, they're messy and gross. For another, a copy of The Riddler's journal that popped up on the movie's tie-in website makes it clear he was radicalized fairly quickly. All of this is to say that not every second of "The Batman" seems to be cohesively planned, so maybe a lost paper clip is just a lost paper clip.

At first, the paper clip theory sounds like the type of relentless Easter egg hunting that takes all the fun out of a film, but it could actually matter. Reeves cut the first Joker scene out of the film, but kept the second, in which he meets The Riddler through a cell wall and the two declare themselves friends. If Joker managed to sneak a paper clip from the file — which he easily could have done while antagonizing Bruce Wayne — he could sneak it to The Riddler and help him escape. Reeves told Variety that he has "no idea when or if we would return to [the Joker] in the movies," and I suppose the same could be true for The Riddler, but he could always come back for the sequels. At the very least, Dano seems to be on board for whatever's next, as he has already signed on to pen a Riddler graphic novel.

Is there a paperclip missing from The Riddler file? Yes. Did Batman notice? No, because he was too busy angsting, as usual. Does it matter? We don't know, but it's fun to imagine all the trouble the Joker could get up to with it between now and the next movie.

"The Batman" is now in theaters.