Although the rumors have remained unconfirmed, eagle-eyed fans thought Barry's brother gave away the secret in November 2021. Now, a new report says Warner Bros. has been deciding which cut of The Batman to release in theaters, reportedly with or without an unnamed actor widely speculated to be Barry's Joker.
Is Barry Keoghan in The Batman? Here's everything we know.
Barry Keoghan was quietly cast in 'The Batman' in 2020.
Per Slash Film, in August 2020, during a panel for The Batman at DC FanDome, Warner Bros. quietly issued a press release announcing Barry Keoghan joining the cast as Stanley Merkel. Stanley's official character description marks him as a young Gotham City Police Department (GCPD) officer. In the Batman: Year One and Batman: Dark Victory comics, young Stanley is Commissioner Jim Gordon's first partner, who is murdered by mob boss Sofia Falcone.
As delighted as fans were that a powerhouse actor like Barry joined the cast, many speculated that Stanley Merkel wasn't the only role Barry would be playing. Director Matt Reeves said the well-known comic arc Batman: The Long Halloween has heavily influenced his production.
In The Long Halloween, Batman battles not one but at least five of the most iconic Batman villains, including The Riddler, Poison Ivy, Catwoman, the Joker, and the Penguin. With the Riddler, Catwoman, and the Penguin already confirmed for The Batman, it wouldn't be a surprise to know Reeves has secretly added a few other villains to the mix.
Per Game Rant, In November 2021, Barry's brother, Eric, responded to the rumor he would be playing the Joker on social media in a now-deleted post saying, "So it's finally out. My brother [is] playing the JOKER in the new Batman. Unreal stuff."
Although the rumors that Barry would be playing the Joker remain unconfirmed, fans have started to see further hints that his role in The Batman is more than just a regular GCPD officer.
On Dec. 11, 2021, The Hollywood Reporter's Heat Vision newsletter confirms that "multiple sources" have suggested Warner Bros. is testing two different cuts of The Batman, one with a certain actor, one without. According to THR's source, the final test screening aired last week, and the studio has made its decision which cut will premiere in theaters.
The source did not confirm or deny that Barry was the actor in the test screenings, but many fans believe that Barry's "reveal" as the Joker could influence potential sequel films. Matt Reeves has already expressed his interest in centering The Batman's sequel around the Joker, so it would make sense to reveal him at the end of the film much like Batman Begins did before The Dark Knight.
Until the rumors are confirmed, fans will have to wait and see the film for themselves on March 4, 2022.