“The Batman” director Matt Reeves released a deleted scene from his superhero epic on Thursday featuring Robert Pattinson’s Caped Crusader facing off against his classic nemesis, the Joker, played by Barry Keoghan.
The scene is available after visiting a website that mimics the word puzzles posed by the Riddler (Paul Dano) in the movie.
As Reeves explained to Variety in an interview in February, the scene follows Batman’s discovery that the Riddler has killed the Gotham City police commissioner, leaving behind another of his cryptic notes addressed to the Batman.
Unnerved by the Riddler’s interest in him, Batman decides to seek out insight into what makes the Riddler tick.
“I thought he would be really insecure about this and he’d probably want to find some way to get into the (Riddler’s) mindset, like in ‘Manhunter’ or ‘Mindhunter’ — this idea of profiling somebody, so you can predict his next move,” Reeves said.
The filmmaker liked the idea of suggesting to the audience that Gotham is rife with villains just on the edge of the story, and that Keoghan’s Joker is one of the first enemies Batman captures.
“Almost our anniversary, isn’t it?” Joker tells Batman in the scene.
Noted Reeves: “You realize that they have a relationship, and that this guy obviously did something, and Batman somehow got him into Arkham.”
Batman pushes Joker for reasons why Riddler is doing what he’s doing, and why he’s leaving notes for Batman at all of his crimes.
“Maybe he’s a fan of yours?” Joker says. “Or maybe he’s got a grudge against you, too. Maybe you’re the main course.”
The scene crescendos with Joker taunting Batman with the unsettling truth that there’s a part of him that agrees with Riddler’s decision to dispatch Gotham leaders who are mired in corruption.
“I think somewhere, deep down, you’re just terrified, because you’re not sure he’s wrong,” Joker says, dissolving into cackles.
In his earlier interview with Variety, Reeves went far more in depth into why he ultimately deleted this scene but kept a follow-up scene at the end of “The Batman” in which Joker and Riddler connect in adjacent cells in the Arkham State Hospital, and how he developed the Joker’s look with Keoghan and makeup artist Michael Marino.