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The Meaning Behind Matthew Perry's Batman References In The Days & Weeks Before His Death — 'I Am Mattman'

Photo: Rena Schild / Shutterstock
matthew perry

On October 28, 2023, Matthew Perry died at age 54, after allegedly drowning in a hot tub at his home in Los Angeles.

As the world reels at the loss of the famed “Friends” actor, tributes have poured in from other actors and fans, all noting the humor and light Perry brought, even in the midst of his own struggles with addiction, depression and anxiety.

Many fans are seeking meaning in the multiple Batman references Matthew Perry made in the days and weeks before his death.

After a prolonged period of time not being active on Instagram, Perry made seven posts to his grid, all referencing Batman. On October 17, 2023, Perry shared a reel of what appeared to be a screening room, with three televisions playing "The Batman" movie simultaneously.

He captioned the post, “No need to worry everybody, I’ve got the streets tonight.”

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Perry followed his initial Batman-themed post with a second post made on October 19, 2023, featuring a red, glowing Batman emblem, along with the caption, “Sleep well everybody, I’ve got the streets tonight.” He signed the post, “Mattman.”

The increasing volume of Batman posts raised concerns among some of Perry’s followers, many of whom commented on his posts, asking if he was okay.

Perry shared a photo of a pumpkin, carved with the Batman symbol, asking, “Do you know what I mean?” beneath the post. One follower asked, “Do you want us to send help? Is this your signal?”

The next post Perry made was a blurred recording of the moon, glowing bright in the sky. “Do you understand what I’m trying to tell you?” Perry wrote. “I’m Mattman.”

Perry’s final post was a purple-tinged shot of him in a hot tub, which feels especially eerie now, knowing that he spent his last moments of life in a hot tub, before drowning. The caption on the post reads, “Oh, so warm swirling water makes you feel good? I’m Mattman.”

The post received 2.1 million likes, a tangible touchpoint for how many fans appreciated and loved Perry.

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Many fans are seeking meaning in Perry’s ‘Mattman’ posts, as though figuring out the cryptic message could provide an answer for his death.

The truth is, no one but Perry himself could know what he meant with his Batman references.

There's some speculation that Perry was involved in a forthcoming creative project that his Mattman signature was referring to. Wendy Naugle, the Editor-In-Chief of People Magazine, stated on The Today Show that Perry "was writing a little script, that’s where the ‘Mattman’ reference comes from in his Instagram.” 

There are multiple configurations, one in which he was having fun, honoring a character he professed a deep, abiding love for; one in which he was sending out a hidden message, asking for help. While it seems like a stretch to assume Perry's posts were some sort of "bat signal" about his mental health, it's entirely common to look for deeper meaning when a beloved celebrity passes away.

Perry was open about his lifelong struggles with addiction and maintaining his mental health. In his memoir, “Friends, Lovers, and the Big, Terrible Thing,” he spoke candidly about how hard he worked to stay sober. 

Anyone battling addiction and anyone who loves anyone battling addiction knows the courage it takes to stand up and give voice to such a polarizing illness. That Perry did so with grace and compassion is something to be celebrated.

Perry’s love of Batman was well-documented. In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, the talk show host gifted Perry a model of own face wearing the Batman mask.



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Perry himself acknowledged his love for Batman in his book. The last chapter of the memoir is titled “Batman.” The last line refers to the character as well.

Perry wrote, “The one thing I got right was that I never gave up, I never raised my hands and said, ‘That’s enough, I can’t take it anymore, you win'... And because of that, I stand tall now, ready for whatever comes next. Someday you, too, might be called upon to do something important, so be ready for it... And when whatever happens, just think, What would Batman do? and do that.”

In a piece published by GQ, writer Chris Heath shared the following exchange, in which Perry stated, “I am Batman. He’s a rich loner. We both drive black, cool cars. I don’t solve crime, but I’ve saved people’s lives.”

Perry has saved lives, both by bearing witness to his addiction and by starting the Perry House, a sober-living facility in Malibu, California.  

In reference to feeling like Batman, Heath asked Perry, “Do you think about this a lot of the time?”

​“The Batman thing? No. It just is with me all the time,” Perry said. 

Perry carried his passion for the dark, troubled superhero alongside his own troubles.

Maybe the character offered him clarity. Maybe it offered him hope. 

Amidst the tributes that fans are posting about Perry, there are also comments wondering if the actor was trying to send a message in his final days, wondering if there was anything that could have been done differently, in order to save his life.

The stark truth of addiction is that no one but the person going through it can stop the cycle. Perry’s Mattman messages may have been a cry for help, yet they also could have been completely innocuous. It is undeniably human to try and assign meaning to loss, yet sometimes, loss just is.

What we do know is that Perry will be missed. May his memory and the joy he brought into the world live on. 

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers celebrity gossip, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.