WARNING: Minor spoilers for The Batman below.
With the deleted Joker scene from The Batman now out in the wild, fans now have a better look at Barry Keoghan‘s version of the classic villain who made a brief appearance in the final moments of the film. To director Matt Reeves‘ and the hair and makeup team’s credit, Keoghan’s Joker looks almost nothing like any of the cinematic Clown Prince of Crimes that audiences have seen before. That said, Keogan’s version does veer more towards Heath Ledger’s iconic take, but only because he once again has people wondering, where did he get those scars?
Fortunately, Reeves provided an answer to the Joker’s facial conundrum. Around The Batman‘s release, the director was practically an open book including confirming that, yes, Keoghan’s unnamed Arkham prisoner is “who you think it is,” but also highlighting that he’s not quite the Joker yet. As for his distinct look, here’s how Reeves and his team tried to separate this Joker from the pack. Via IGN:
“He’s got this congenital disease. He can never stop smiling. And it made Mike and I think about — I was talking about The Elephant Man because I love David Lynch. 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 Nolan thing where he has these scars and we don’t know where they came from. What if this is something that he’s been touched by from birth and that he has a congenital disease that refuses to let him stop smiling? And he’s had this very dark reaction to it, and he’s had to spend a life of people looking at him in a certain way and he knows how to get into your head.’”
Keoghan’s Joker being able to get into your head definitely comes through in the deleted scene as Pattinson’s Batman leaves the interaction visibly rattled by how easily the Joker was able to twist the situation and turn it on the Dark Knight. As for the Joker being the main villain in the sequel, Reeves is upfront that, for now, his appearance in the film is just to establish that the character is out there slowly evolving into his final form, and he honestly doesn’t know when he’ll appear next.