After a solid theatrical run so far, a deleted scene from The Batman was released earlier this week which gave audiences a five-minute look at Barry Keoghan’s Joker, a character strongly hinted at in the film but not overtly shown. The scene reveals Joker’s full look as a deformed man with chewed fingernails, patchy hair, and brutal facial scarring.
In an interview with Variety, The Batman director Matt Reeves discussed the unique look and backstory for his Batman universe’s Joker. He began by affirming that this Joker iteration is meant to break from tradition and bring a different story and look to the table. He went on to say:
“It’s like ‘Phantom of the Opera.’ He has a congenital disease where he can’t stop smiling, and it’s horrific. His face is half-covered through most of the film. It’s not about some version where he falls into a vat of chemicals, and his face is distorted…what if this guy from birth had this disease and was cursed? He had this smile that people stared at that was grotesque and terrifying. Even as a child, people looked at him with horror, and his response was to say, ‘Okay, so a joke was played on me,’ and this was his nihilistic take on the world.”
For now, Keoghan’s Joker remains an almost entirely deleted element from the original film. While Reeves maintains that he has no concrete plans for the sequel film yet, it’s likely that Joker will reappear in this universe in some capacity.
The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson and Zoe Kravitz, is playing in theaters now.