How Barry Keoghan's Joker in 'The Batman' is Inspired by Hannibal Lecter

Barry Keoghan's interpretation of the Joker was finally unveiled to the world, and it seems like the scene was inspired by another famous maniacal serial killer.

Keoghan became a trending topic online as a result of the five-minute scene from The Batman being shared, with his unsettling performance as the infamous Gotham villain being praised widely online.

However, since the scene was ultimately cut in favor of a shorter appearance by Keoghan's Joker, it leaves many wondering where exactly it would have fit into the story.

The answer may be hidden in a scene which seems to inspire the scene from The Batman, when Hannibal Lecter was brought to the big screen for the first time—no, not The Silence of the Lambs.

The Batman and Manhunter

The deleted scene, released by Warner Bros. and then widely shared by the likes of Keoghan and director Matt Reeves, shows Robert Pattinson's Batman entering Arkham Asylum to seemingly ask for the Joker's help in catching a serial killer.

It's all very reminiscent of a pivotal scene from the 1986 movie Manhunter. Succession actor Brian Cox was the first man to take the character of Hannibal Lecter to the big screen in Manhunter, which was an adaptation of the 1981 book Red Dragon.

Within Manhunter, FBI agent Will Graham (William Peterson) enters the cell holding Dr. Hannibal Lecktor (spelled differently intentionally) and proceeds to converse with him through the bars. Graham asks for Lecktor's help in finding a killer, and determining who will be killed next.

A similar scene is seen in 1991's The Silence of the Lambs with Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) and Dr. Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), which is based on the 1988 novel sequel.

There are some obvious parallels between The Batman and Manhunter. Lecktor asks Graham if he got his card, while Joker tells Batman it's their anniversary.

It's revealed that the man behind bars is caught by the person interrogating them at that moment. Both Lecktor and Joker have their faces temporarily hidden behind items whilst the exchange begins. Also within both scenes, the inquiring detective has a criminal file for the incarcerated man to read over.

Barry Keoghan and Manhunter
Barry Keoghan plays Joker in "The Batman" while Brian Cox was the first man to bring Hannibal Lecter to the big screen in "Manhunter." Arturo Holmes/Getty Images/ De Laurentiis Entertainment Group

Where Joker fits into The Batman

The main narrative within The Batman sees the world's greatest detective hunting down a serial killer known as The Riddler.

Bruce Wayne enters the interrogation room and hands Joker a file that we assume to be about Riddler. Based on that logic, it's easy to assume that the Joker scene which was deleted was supposed to be implemented some way into the movie, after Riddler had committed multiple murders, but before he'd been caught.

We see the same interrogation room later on in the movie after Riddler has been caught. Audiences then see Keoghan's Joker, albeit briefly, in a later scene when they're both locked up in Arkham Asylum in neighboring cells.

While he may not have had much of an influence on the plot in The Batman, we now know that Joker is at play within this new cinematic universe and he could feature in potential sequels.

The Batman is out in movie theaters now. It will be available to watch on HBO Max later this year.