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Movies & TV

07th Mar 2022

What the appearance of [SPOILERS] means for The Batman sequel

Rory Cashin

Bat-spoilers ahead!

Arriving in cinemas around the world on Friday, The Batman has gone on to have immediate box office success (just under $250 million worldwide in three days!), with some outlets even asking if the movie is the first 2023 Oscars contender. We’d suggest yes for Paul Dano for Best Supporting Actor, as well as Michael Giacchino for his tremendous score, but as for Best Picture? Let’s see how the rest of the year pans out, quality wise…

One thing is pretty much certain is that this movie will be getting a sequel, with director and co-writer Matt Reeves already discussing which villains he wants to fold into the future of the franchise, while our chats with Colin Farrell brought up some other Irish actors who could potentially join him in portraying future members of the Rogue’s Gallery…

But – and SPOILERS from here on out – of course we now know for sure that Colin Farrell wasn’t the only Irish actor to be found in The Batman.

At the very end of the movie, with The Riddler (Paul Dano) locked up in his cell in Arkham, still reeling from the revelation that the Batman wasn’t the man who thought he might be, we hear a voice from a neighbouring cell.

A voice, and then a laugh, and through the dirty, blurred glass of that cell’s window, a giant smile frozen in place across a man’s face. The end credits list this character as Unseen Arkham Inmate, but we all know that Barry Keoghan has just arrived as The Joker.

As Joker tells The Riddler – “Gotham loves a comeback story.” – it sounds like these two will have some major plans in place for the upcoming sequel. However, the biggest hint as to what those plans might be are in the setting of how we meet The Joker.

Unlike previous introductions, such as with 1989’s Batman, 2008’s The Dark Knight or 2016’s Suicide Squad, this agent of chaos needed to be stopped before he brought Gotham to its knees, but when we meet him here, he’s already been captured.

If we think back to other incarnations of the character which essentially began with the Joker already incarcerated – but still managing the make trouble for Batman, James Gordon, etc. – then the first thing that comes to mind is Arkham Asylum. That game begins with Batman bringing Joker into the institution, only to discover that Joker has been planning this exact moment for years, freeing multiple other villains from their cages, but keeping them all trapped inside the confines of the asylum with Batman until only one of them is left standing.

Clip via Arkham Videos

That would allow Reeves’ version of Mister Freeze to inhabit that same confined space as multiple other antagonists, as well as potentially give characters like Selina Kyle (returning to help Batman out of a deadly situation) or Oswald Cobblepot (making a power grab in Gotham in the vacuum left in Batman’s absence) to return to the fold, too.

Aside from that, it also opens up the potential for the No Man’s Land graphic novel series arc to kick in, when the US government orders the evacuation and cordoning off of Gotham following a natural disaster, essentially forcing Batman to stand alone in saving the city once it has been neatly divided up by its new criminal overlords. However, this sort of happened in The Dark Knight Rises, so whether Reeves will want to follow Nolan directly down that route seems unlikely.

Whether any of this actually comes to fruition, we’ll have to wait and see – it’s unlike we’ll see Barry Keoghan’s Joker front-and-centre in The Batman 2 for at least another three years – but it sure is fun to speculate.

LISTEN: You Must Be Jokin’ with Aideen McQueen – Faith healers, Coolock craic and Gigging as Gaeilge