One of Batman’s most tragic villains is getting what he only desired most: the spotlight.
As reported by Deadline, the Batman villain Clayface will be a major fixture in The Batman 2, the in-development sequel to Matt Reeves’ hit standalone DC Comics movie The Batman. Clayface’s role in The Batman 2 was included in a Deadline report that The Haunting of Hill House and Midnight Mass creator Mike Flanagan pitched a Clayface-centric movie to DC Studios — a movie that DC’s James Gunn and Peter Safran haven’t actually passed on. (Yet.)
“There are no offers and no deals,” Deadline writes, “Though typically a DC supervillain, in the Flanagan pic, should it move forward, he wouldn’t be a bad guy (so we hear).”
Later in the piece, Deadline reports Clayface is “a big addition to Matt Reeves’ The Batman 2,” which implies that DC may want to hold out on a standalone Clayface movie so as not to confuse audiences when Clayface appears in Reeves’ sequel. Then again, DC is about to introduce yet another new Batman while Robert Pattinson is still doing his thing, so who’s to say if audiences actually care enough to be confused these days.
Either way, Clayface making the leap to a live-action Batman movie is a big deal. Debuting in 1940 for Detective Comics #40, Clayface is most often portrayed as Basil Karlo, a moderately successful actor dreaming of bigger stardom. Originally, he only wore a clay mask (from a horror movie Basil starred in), but later versions made Basil a tragic figure as a matinee idol turned mud monster who can temporarily shapeshift but never permanently hold his visage.
Versions of Clayface have appeared in various Batman media, including Batman: The Animated Series, Gotham, and Pennyworth. Alan Tudyk currently voices a comical version of Clayface in the HBO Max series Harley Quinn.
It’s unknown what kind of character Reeves will depict Clayface in The Batman 2. A vain character humbled by horrific tragedy feels like something that Reeves can — ahem — mold into something beautiful and sad. (And it feels especially suited for Reeves’ dark and grounded vision of Gotham City.) At the same time, a version of Clayface that is purely a monster feels like a daring enough interpretation that still yields important floor space to Barry Keoghan’s Joker, who is most likely starring in The Batman 2 as Batman’s primary nemesis. Then there’s the question of Colin Farrell’s Penguin, whose HBO Max TV series is reported to directly lead into The Batman 2. (Not to mention the rumors of Mr. Freeze joining the fray.)
Despite Clayface’s wildest dreams of taking the stage, he may in fact have to share the spotlight.