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‘The Batman’s’ sort-of post-credits scene, explained

Robert Pattinson in “The Batman.” (Warner Bros./DC Entertainment)
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This story contains spoilers from “The Batman.”

Riddle me this: When is a post-credits scene in a superhero movie not a post-credits scene in a superhero movie?

The answer? When that scene is whatever appeared after the credits of “The Batman.”

A decade plus of Marvel Studios domination at the box office has conditioned comic-book loving moviegoers that the story isn’t over when the credits start rolling and the lights come on. Marvel’s post-credits scenes, which are always filled with surprise appearances and clues as to where its interconnected universe is going next, are just as much a part of the movies as infinity stones.

Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment followed suit with their own post-credits scenes over the years, during their failed attempt to duplicate Marvel’s Avengers magic with the formation of the Justice League in live-action.

“The Batman,” however, is not a part of the connected tale DC has been trying to weave together through its movies recently (“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Wonder Woman,” “Justice League,” “The Suicide Squad”) — it very much breathes its own air, which would lead viewers to believe it would be okay to dash to the restroom at the end of the film.

But this is a movie featuring the Riddler as its main antagonist, which means the scanning for clues shouldn’t stop until the ushers are kicking you out.

Perhaps the after-credits moment in “The Batman” should be called a “screen” instead of “scene.” You’ll see the credits revert to the style of screen being used during the movie when the Riddler (Paul Dano) was having a computer chat with Batman (Robert Pattinson) while playing digital cat and mouse.

The word that appears to be typed on the screen? It says “goodbye?” with a question mark. That’s followed by a static fritz that Reeves coyly told The Washington Post contains “something that the audience is meant to see.”

That “something” is a website, Once there you are prompted by the same black, green-lettered screen to look through secret files, which have photos hinting of potential things to come in the Batman franchise. Whether that means a movie sequel or the planned HBO Max series featuring Colin Farrell’s Penguin, no one knows just yet.

There’s also a new riddle, written in the Riddler’s language he used throughout the film to leave clues for Batman. All signs point to a villain team-up between the Riddler and his new friend in jail (Barry Keoghan) who just might be … the Joker.

Reeves told The Post that the post-credits moment was meant to signify that the story is ongoing without giving “The Batman” a “chapter one” feel and the assumption that a sequel is a foregone conclusion.

“I never wanted it to feel like we were saying this is chapter one, because I always feel like we don’t know if it’s chapter one, this is just this story,” Reeves said. “I wanted this experience to be a complete experience and so there was never any intention to do [a post-credits scene] because that wasn’t what the movie was intended to do. It was … here’s this story about Batman in this year two [on the crime-fighting job] going through this experience.”

Reeves has more story to tell in his very dark version of Gotham City. If a sequel is a go, then expect to see more of Dano’s Riddler, who survived his encounter with Batman but is now in his cell with the mystery man. The biggest riddle of this franchise going forward may be how many villains can Reeves fit in front of the camera. “The Batman” features a good/bad Catwoman (Zoe Kravitz); the Penguin (Collin Farrell), who’s now set up to be a major crime boss player in future films; a very much still-alive Riddler; and the guy giggling in the cell next to him at the end of the movie.

One thing Reeves will have if he’s granted a sequel is plenty of antagonist options.

This story has been updated.