There is no doubt the greatest villain in the history of the Batman universe is the Joker, and no one else comes close to him. However, he was apparently absent in The Batman because the movie focused more on other villains such as the Riddler, Falcone, and the Penguin. However, there was a scene wherein there was an unseen prisoner in Arkham. So, is the unseen Arkham prisoner the Joker?
The Unseen Arkham Prisoner is actually the Joker and is going to be played by Marvel superhero actor Barry Keoghan, who starred in Marvel’s Eternals as Druig. Matt Reeves confirmed that Keoghan will be playing the Joker and that there was a cut scene that involved him as the clown.
If Keoghan is indeed the Joker, this would be the third time in a span of ten years that a different actor is playing the iconic Clown Prince of Crime in a live-action movie. Of course, it’s going to be interesting to see his take on arguably the greatest comic book villain of all time. In that regard, let’s look at what we know about this unseen Arkham prisoner and how he would factor into the future of the film franchise.
Is The Joker The Unseen Arkham Prisoner In The Batman?
It wasn’t a secret that The Batman was going to heavily explore the character of the Riddler as the main villain of the film. And throughout the entire movie, Batman was in pursuit of the Riddler in a chase that looked like he was going after the Zodiac Killer because of all of the clues left by the villain for the masked hero to solve.
However, as the movie moves along, we also see some of the more iconic villains as well, such as the Penguin and Carmine Falcone. But the fact remains that we didn’t get to see the most iconic Batman villain and quite possibly the greatest DC villain of all time in the Joker. Still, there was a hint that one character in the movie was possibly the Joker.
It isn’t a secret that the Riddler was caught by the Gotham police and was placed behind bars before the true climax of the movie, wherein the villain’s plans were actually carried out. However, he mostly stayed behind bars throughout those moments.
Near the final moments of The Batman, we saw the Riddler in Arkham State Hospital in his own cell. Through his cell bars, he is interacting with a fellow inmate whose face isn’t seen but whose grin and green hair can be discernible, in a way.
As they are chatting, the prisoner is cheering up Riddler, who is a bit sad about the fact that Batman was able to stop some of his plans (even though the villain’s plans were mostly carried out). The prison told Riddler, “One day you’re on top, the next day you’re a clown.”
After that, the Riddler said his famous “Riddle me this” line before telling the prisoner a riddle. However, the prisoner was able to correctly answer the riddle with “a friend” before they both filled the air with their laughter, as a friendship may have been formed between them. So, is this unseen Arkham prison in The Batman the Joker?
It is most likely that this unseen prisoner is actually the Joker, as all signs point to the possibility that he is actually the Clown Prince of Crime. The hair, the laugh, and the words that he used all fit the classic Joker archetype. And Matt Reeves even confirmed that this character is sort of a proto-Joker that is not yet the Joker but is actually going to be the Joker.
In an interview, Reeves said that there were actually two scenes that included this unseen prisoner, one of which was the one we saw at the end of the film. Meanwhile, the other one didn’t make the final cut because the director probably didn’t want to reveal the Joker.
Reeves said that Batman caught the proto-Joker character during his first two years as the caped superhero and had him kept locked in Arkham. However, in the other scene that wasn’t shown in the film, he actually visited this proto-Joker in Arkham to talk to him about the Riddler so that he could profile him, considering that the Joker and the Riddler are quite similar.
This scene was never shown onscreen, but it was actually shot in a manner that is reminiscent of how Batman visited Calendar Man in Arkham during the Long Halloween so that he could understand the villain named Holiday’s modus operandi.
Reeves also went on to say that The Batman is more of an origin story for the villains. And that means that the Joker at this stage is not yet the Joker, per se, but is on his way to becoming the iconic villain.
Considering that it has been confirmed that Hush will be the next villain of The Batman, it would be interesting to see how the Joker will play into this. But what we can say for sure is that the Joker plays a part in the events of Batman: Hush because Hush actually fools Bruce Wayne into thinking that the Joker killed him. So, if the next Batman film stays true to the Hush storyline, the Joker could play a similar role.
Who Plays The Unseen Arkham Prisoner In The Batman?
One of the biggest efforts that Matt Reeves and his crew made to hide the identity of the Joker was to credit Barry Keoghan as GCPD officer Stanley Merkel. And there were even scenes wherein Keoghan was portrayed as a police officer to put the rumors about him being the Joker to rest.
However, it was revealed by Barry Keoghan’s own brother that the actor would indeed be the Joker in The Batman and in the future films that form part of the same continuity. And in the same IGN interview, Matt Reeves himself said that the actor that portrays the Clown Prince of Clown in the two scenes that involved the Joker is none other than Barry Keoghan.
So, while we didn’t get to see Barry Keoghan in the film, the cat is now out of the bag. He isn’t GCPD officer Stanley Merkel but is actually the Joker, as he steps into the shoes of quite possibly the most iconic comic book villain of all time.
Who Is Barry Keoghan?
For those who don’t know who Barry Keoghan is, he is an Irish actor that started his career out in the UK but steadily rose to prominence with performances in The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Dunkirk, The Green Knight, Chernobyl, and, of course, Marvel’s Eternals.
So, if Barry Keoghan is going to be playing the Joker in the long run and is going to reprise his role as Druig in Eternals on a long-term basis, he will be placed in a unique situation wherein he plays important characters for both DC and Marvel.