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The Batman's Infamous Deleted Scene Confirms What We Suspected About Barry Keoghan's Joker

Contains spoilers for "The Batman"

Matt Reeves' "The Batman" took a long time to arrive in theaters thanks to numerous release date delays and production problems caused by the pandemic. But when audiences finally got to see it, they were met with a truly intense version of Batman (Robert Pattinson) who is so consumed by his quest for vengeance that he barely has time to be Bruce Wayne. The film has been a huge success, raking in $128.5 million in its opening weekend (via Box Office Mojo), while earning rave reviews from critics.

The film pits the Caped Crusader against a Zodiac-inspired Riddler (Paul Dano) who wages a bloody war on the corrupt members of Gotham's elite. Riddler's mission also forces Bruce to examine his parents' legacy, which is called into question by Riddler's cleansing crusade, a wrinkle that adds a nice personal touch to the sprawling detective thriller. Thankfully, Batman and the Gotham City Police Department eventually catch the villain, and lock him up in Arkham Asylum for his crimes. (Although it's worth pointing out that his whole plan succeeds, right down to flooding the city to cleanse Gotham of its sundry sins.)

But remember, this is a comic book movie, so we're treated to some obligatory sequel bait in Arkham when the Riddler meets a version of the Joker — played by "American Animals" and "Eternals" star Barry Keoghan. We don't see much of the Clown Prince of Crime, but he does befriend his new asylum-mate. Cute.

Reeves previously revealed that Keoghan shot footage with Pattinson's Dark Knight, leading some fans decry the fact that these frames were obviously left on the cutting room floor. Now the infamous deleted scene has finally been released, confirming what we suspected about Barry Keoghan's Joker.

Barry Keoghan's Joker is completely disfigured

Although the theatrical cut of "The Batman" gives fans a brief glimpse of the Joker, it's very careful not to reveal too much of the villain — presumably to save the full look for a sequel. And thanks to the bright light coming in from the window behind him, his iconic green hair is barely visible. That said, Keoghan's gleefully sinister demeanor sells it perfectly.

The deleted scene offers a full look at the Joker, as it features the Bat visiting him in Arkham Asylum as he asks the villain for help unpacking the Riddler's sadistic mind. It's an age-old tactic: Use a serial killer to find a serial killer. The whole clip feels like a comic book take on "The Silence of the Lambs" — in which Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) visits Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) while investigating Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine). This confirms that Batman and Joker have already crossed paths before, because Keoghan's villain whispers "It's our first anniversary, isn't it?" Since the movie takes place in Bruce's second year of crime-fighting, this line suggests he went up against the Clown in his early vigilante days — which is pretty impressive just in itself. 

Reeves is clever. He keeps Keoghan out of focus for most of the sequence, only revealing the villain's horrific smile toward the end of their conversation. It's definitely a unique take on the Joker, a ghastly visage with full-body scarring. This new version of Batman's nemesis is also missing chunks of his trademark green hair. Arkham has clearly not been kind to him.

How did Matt Reeves come up with this new Joker?

Coming up with a fresh take on the Joker was always going to be difficult for Matt Reeves, because we've had so many different iterations of the iconic villain over the years. From Jack Nicholson's sharp-suited mobster and Heath Ledger's unpredictable anarchist, to Jared Leto's tattooed gangster and Joaquin Phoenix's misunderstood comedian.

Thankfully, the director has already revealed his inspiration for the Joker in this grimy version of Gotham. He told IGN that the villain has a congenital disease that left him completely disfigured. "He's very much out of the Conrad Veidt sort of mold," he said, referring to the original inspiration for the Joker in "The Man Who Laughs" (via CBR). 

The director went on to talk about the 1928 film, saying, "He's got this congenital disease, he can never stop smiling. And I was like, 'Well maybe there's something here,' where it's not something where he fell in a vat of chemicals or it's not the [Christopher] Nolan thing where he has these scars and we don't know where they came from." Reeves is clearly a hardcore Batman fan, and it's great that he wanted to honor the origins of the villain in his own way.

The Joker's startling look feels reminiscent of the nightmarish take of the character in Grant Morrison's "Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth" — and since there's an "Arkham Asylum" series planned for HBO Max, it would be great if Keoghan's Joker shows up there too.