The Batman Part 2 Rumor Teases Clayface

Classic villain may feature in not just one, but two adaptations.

by Steven Lee Sharpe
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Clayface is the name on lips behind the closed doors of DC production studios right now and with so many projects under early stages of development, the most surprising link is with The Batman Part 2.

It all started when Deadline recently reported the rumour that writer/director Mike Flanagan had pitched the idea for a Clayface movie to DCEU executives James Gunn and Peter Safran. Flanagan’s stock is rising thanks to his movie adaptation of Stephen King’s follow-up to The Shining, Doctor Sleep (2019), and as creator of TV shows The Haunting of Hill House (2018), The Haunting of Blythe Manor (2020), and Midnight Mass (2021). As we’ve previously reported on Dark Knight News, Flanagan made it known on Twitter way back in January 2021 that, given a choice of any DC project to adapt he would plump for Clayface. He said:

Well I’ve wanted to do a Superman movie since I was a kid, but I would also be really keen to do a standalone Clayface movie as a horror/thriller/tragedy.

It seems that this Tweet was the moment that the seed of an idea began to develop for Flanagan which has led to his recent pitch to DC studios. Now, it seems that there’s more to the story because the mention of the name Clayface appears to have sparked a further rumour that Matt Reeves has been considering the character as an addition to his script for The Batman: Part 2. This is the time we all sit a little closer to our computer screens because I’m not sure that many of us were expecting a villain with super-powers to be associated with Reeves’ more grounded take on the Dark Knight Universe.

Clayface is actually one of the oldest Batman villains, created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger for Detective Comics #40 (1940) only thirteen issues after they introduced the world to the Dark Knight himself. Interestingly , the character has gone through a series of drastic metamorphoses. Initially the character was introduced as Basil Karlo, a B movie actor inspired by the real-life monster actors Boris Karloff and Basil Rathbone and the 1925 movie version of The Phantom of the Opera. Rather than developing superpowers, Basil commits murder under the guise of a horror character he played on film.

As the Silver Age of comics saw a huge influence in the trend for sci-fi, in Detective Comics #298 Clayface was reintroduced as Matt Hagen, a treasure hunter given shapeshifting powers due to exposure to a pool of radioactive protoplasm. Since then, there have been a further six versions of the character in DC comics and all have had versions of powers that change their appearance as well as taking on the monstrous human-shaped melting mud appearance.

So how would that fit into Matt Reeves’s exploration of the Bat-verse which has so far proved to be as grounded as the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight trilogy of movies (2005-2012)? Given that Reeves has involved himself in a new Batman: The Caped Crusader animated series which explores the early days of Batman’s focus on detective crime-fighting, DC studios may be happy for this new low-key Elseworlds version of Batman that exists outside of James Gunn’s new Gods and Monsters chapter of DC on film. If that’s the case, we may see the return of humble Basil Karlo employing technology to alter his appearance rather than misadventures with strange chemicals.

Or maybe, just maybe, just as the comic version of Batman evolved from crime noir, Reeves is planning to slowly introduce superpowered abilities to his new world of Gotham.

There’s a long way to go until the proposed October 2025 release date for The Batman: Part 2, so this is the fun part, speculating on rumors and letting our imaginations run wild. While Clayface may yet not make the final script and Mike Flanagan’s proposed movie may not be green lit, DC already have a Swamp Thing adaptation planned which may tick the horror/thriller/tragedy box that Flanagan referenced. Certainly his hands will be full for the time being on his next project, an adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower.

Even if the name is confirmed for either project, the question will remain as to which version we’ll see of a character that is as changeable as the power that comes with them. Is it too ironic to ask the question what shape will Clayface take?

Can you imagine a superpowered version of Clayface appearing in Matt Reeves The Batman? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

Original source: Den of Geek.

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