- "I think you don't really care about his motives, whether he loves or hates you. I think somewhere, deep down, you're just terrified, 'cause you're not sure he's wrong, huh? You think they deserved it, uh-huh!? You think they deserved it!"
- ―Joker to Batman[src]
The Joker is a deranged serial killer and an enemy of the Batman, having been apprehended by him sometime during his first active year as a vigilante. He became an inmate at the Arkham State Hospital and was later visited by the vigilante, as he attempted to profile the motives of the infamous serial killer, Riddler, whom Joker befriended.
Childhood with Disease
Joker was born with a congenital disease that refused to let him stop smiling. This disease caused him to be looked at uncomfortably by people where ever he went. These experiences ultimately made him realize that life had played a cruel joke on him leading him to pursue a life of crime and anarchy.
Apprehended by the Batman
During Batman's first year as a vigilante, Joker became a serial killer and later came into conflict with the young vigilante, who he came to see as a fascinating, fun challenge, and began toying with him with psychology tricks. At some point during that year, Joker also stalked reclusive billionaire Bruce Wayne at a public event, where photographers caught an image of the two together and reporters mistakenly labelled Joker as a "mysterious woman" Wayne was seeing. Eventually, Batman defeated the Joker and was sent to the Arkham State Hospital, where he remained there for nearly a year.
Profiling at Arkham State Hospital
- "You know exactly how he thinks. Have you read this file? You two have so much in common. "Masked avengers". So he's even more righteous... Aww. Are you afraid he makes you look soft?"
- ―Joker to Batman[src]
Inquisitively disturbed about Riddler's motives following the respective murders of Mayor Don Mitchell Jr. and Commissioner Pete Savage, Joker received a visit from Batman inside Arkham State Hospital, as he was intent on profiling his intents behind the cryptic messages directed towards him.
Joker visibly appeared less interested in Riddler himself, deducing and taunting the vigilante with the notion that Batman and Riddler were morally one in the same, and have more in common than he himself would like to openly admit, additionally putting forth the prospect that Batman subconsciously justified and supported the Riddler's actions. Frustrated, Batman exited the confessional booth, as Joker maniacally laughed.
Meeting the Riddler
- "Riddle me this. "The less of them you have, the more one is worth..."
- ―Joker and Riddler[src]
Having been discovered, Riddler was incarcerated at Arkham State Hospital for his attempt to flood Gotham City and stage an assassination attempt on the mayor-elect Bella Reál. While Riddler was watching live news coverage of the incident from his cell, pitying himself, Joker attempted to get his attention, encouraging him to not feel misfortuned for being thwarted in regards to what he commended as an excellent plan to drive the city into chaos.
Riddler turned to face the Joker from his cell, who then shared a riddle regarding the value of friendship, enticing him to ally himself with a new inmate as the two of them indulged in cackling from their respective cells.
- "Our first anniversary is... paper. What makes you think I come so cheap?"
"I thought you'd be curious."
"You think I get off on this stuff?"
- ―Joker and Batman[src]
Joker appears to be psychologically crazed, yet is inherently calculating, deductive and cunning in his motives and always with a very cruel sense of humor. He is also effective at using his fractured psyche to his advantage, taunting his opponents in regards to questioning their own stances on morality, as he does with Batman when profiling the Riddler at Arkham State Hospital. He later uses his disturbed knowledge of the human condition to outwardly manipulate and garner sympathy from Edward Nashton, following his incarceration at Arkham. His manipulative and sadistic demeanor allows him to befriend a vulnerable individual like Nashton, presenting him with an act of friendship to have himself allied with him.
Unlike most of the other criminals that the Batman has faced up to that point, Joker shows absolutely no signs of having any fear or hatred towards the costumed vigilante instead expressing only a twisted kind of amusement that at times seems to border on affectionate almost to the point of genuine friendliness whenever they meet. He takes extreme pleasure in pushing Batman's buttons and is notably the only person able to make Batman feel truly uncomfortable and out of his depths.
Joker is also shown to be very sneaky as he was able to quickly and quietly steal a paperclip from the file that Batman gave him while continuing to taunt the Dark Knight all without Batman ever realizing what he was doing.
- Thief: The Joker is a skilled thief with expert sleight of hand, as he stole a paperclip from the files given to him by the Batman, without the exceptionally observant detective vigilante noticing.
- Arkham State Hospital: Joker is currently incarcerated at this prison, where he occupies a cell next to Edward Nashton/Riddler.
- In DC Comics, the Joker is widely considered to be Batman's archnemesis, and serves as one of the most highly recurring villains in his rogues gallery.
Behind the Scenes
- Prior to the film's release, Barry Keoghan's casting as the Joker was largely kept secret by the cast and crew related to the film, with many pre-release promotional materials instead billing him as portraying Gotham City Police Department officer Stanley Merkel, a minor character in Batman: Year One and Batman: The Long Halloween, among other stories associated with the character.
- Additionally, the final film credits Keoghan as playing the "Unseen Arkham Prisoner".
- Joker in The Batman Universe is the seventh live-action incarnation of the character, following other incarnations portrayed by Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, Cameron Monaghan, Jared Leto, and Joaquin Phoenix.
- Director Matt Reeves has confirmed that a second scene between Barry Keoghan as Joker and Robert Pattinson as Batman inside Arkham was filmed, but ultimately cut from the final theatrical release, but insinuated a possibility it could be included in the film's release on home media. The scene was officially released online on March 24, 2022, following a countdown that took place on the viral marketing site, Rataalada.com.
- The scene was described by Reeves as taking place earlier in the film, where Batman is so unnerved because the Riddler is writing to him and he’s like, ‘Well, why is this guy writing to me?’ And he figures he’s got to profile this killer. He goes to see another killer that he’s clearly had an experience with in his first two years to obtain a lead on Riddler's motives for cryptically taunting him and the police.
- Reeves revealed that Joker would’ve said “it’s almost our anniversary, isn’t it?” to Batman. Reeves intended this to imply a shared history between the two, as he envisioned that Joker was a killer that Batman apprehended during his first year as an active vigilante. He confirmed this in an interview, when he said "because the movie is not an origin tale for Batman, but it’s his early days, it really is an origin tale for the Rogue’s Gallery’s characters. And for me, I think [it’s] this idea that the Joker is not yet the Joker, but they already have this relationship."
- Joker's design and prosthetics were developed in collaboration with Mike Marino, who served as a makeup artist on the film and similarly assisted in the creation of the fat suit and prosthetics used for Oswald "Oz" Cobblepot/Penguin.
- "The Batman Director Reveals Identity of That Unnamed Arkham Prisoner" - YouTube
- Reeves, Matt & Craig, Peter (writers); Reeves, Matt & Clark, Dylan (producers); & Reeves, Matt (director) (March 4, 2022). The Batman.
- "Matt Reeves says "Cool Scene" featuring Barry Keoghan was Cut from The Batman" - MovieWeb
- ‘The Batman’ Releases Deleted Joker Scene With Barry Keoghan and Robert Pattinson - Variety
- "The Batman Director Reveals the Identity of That Unnamed Arkham Prisoner" - IGN
- "Matt Reeves Releases Deleted ‘The Batman’ Scene With Barry Keoghan’s Joker" - The Hollywood Reporter
- "‘The Batman’ SPOILER Interview With Matt Reeves" - YouTube