Warning: This article contains spoilers for The Batman which hit theaters this week. If you don’t want to know certain things about the film, turn back now. You’ve been given the heads up.
Matt Reeves’ The Batman is now in theaters and is overwhelmingly getting great reviews. And despite the three-hour running time and the experiment of “premium seats” at AMC for specifically and only this movie (read: the experiment is they want more money), people are going to see it in droves. It actually is nearing Spider-Man: No Way Home numbers, which in themselves were historic, particularly in the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. But what all this means is, what about The Batman 2? While it can already be assumed that Warner Bros is frantically pushing a big button that greenlights the sequel, Matt Reeves has dropped a pretty big spoiler for his Gotham movie. Ready for it?
The Batman 2 is almost certainly going to feature The Joker as the main villain. While Matt Reeves was still a little cagey and refuses to give a straight answer, he did confirm that the mysterious prisoner approaching Paul Dano’s incarcerated Riddler/Edward Nashton is indeed The Joker. Or, as Reeves put it, an “early days version” of the character, so perhaps it is The Joker pre-chemical bath? In either case, the character is referenced in The Batman as only “Unseen Arkham Prisoner” and is played by Eternals actor Barry Keoghan. While it was known that Keoghan had been cast in The Batman, his role had been kept tightly under wraps. The prevailing thought was that he would be playing Jim Gordon’s longtime partner, Stanley Merkel. Reeves even says that they filmed fake scenes to throw people off the scent, which apparently did work.
Keeping a bombshell like The Joker being cast and likely to be in The Batman 2 is a pretty difficult task in this day and age of fans seeking out spoilers (and then being outraged at knowing them), so kudos to Matt Reeves. Film productions secrecy has come a long way from Benedict Cumberbatch just straight-up lying that he was not playing Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness (though someone should probably tell Andrew Garfield that). Most likely, The Batman 2 will be at least several years out, and Reeves seemed to imply that the plot of a sequel was not wholly formed as of yet. The Batman does indicate that Gotham City is facing a rise of costumed supervillains in opposition to Batman’s presence (a theme directly addressed by The Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight), which feels like it could lead perfectly into Barry Keoghan reprising the role.
We here considered Matt Reeves’ The Batman to be perhaps the finest Batman film yet, so we are predictably excited for whatever The Batman 2 might bring. As Reeves’ film ended on a note of Robert Pattinson’s Batman deciding to change his crimefighting philosophy and serve as a symbol of hope to Gotham citizens rather than just the terrifying guy who savagely beats people, it will be interesting to see the tone of what may come. It feels almost certain at this point we will be seeing Barry Keoghan’s Joker once again, and maybe not just in the shadows next time.