Even at three hours long, it’s no surprise that The Batman still has deleted scenes. The juiciest one, no doubt, was just released online: a 5-minute humdinger with The Joker.
Played by Barry Keoghan (Eternals), his Joker was briefly teased in the final theatrical version, appearing late in a scene with Paul Dano‘s Riddler that’s set in Arkham State Hospital (i.e. Asylum). Although unnamed and in shadow, it was readily apparent that this was the Joker, even if in an early, formative pre-Joker state.
In this deleted scene — a lengthy interrogation exchange in which Batman is trying to gain insight into how the Riddler thinks — Keoghan’s Joker is (visually speaking) partially obscured, hidden within in a dull, soft focus behind a hazy pane of glass. It’s only near the end of the clip that, in an extreme close-up, his appearance becomes clear.
The familiar, psychotic cackle is there, but this mangled man is the most brutalized incarnation of the Joker to date — and definitely fits the sadistic nature of this particular Gotham.
As well-executed as the moment is, it seems was wise to have removed it from the final cut; it would’ve been too much of a distraction. The tease that remained was enough.
Nevertheless, even as I suspect that Joker’s cameo was a studio mandate required of director Matt Reeves, this deleted scene feels creatively sincere — and fresh.