This is a pretty intriguing development. It also should be noted that Flanagan had pitched DC Studios heads James Gunn and Peter Safran about doing a Clayface show, so his angle would likely not be connected with what Reeves could be dreaming up for The Batman 2, if either came to fruition. However, supposing that the anonymous sources are correct, then the inclusion of Clayface into Reeves’ sequel would signal a major opening up of Reeves’ take on Gotham City and its weirder little corners.
Clayface was originally one of Batman’s first villains in the comics. Created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane in Detective Comics #40, the character of Basil Karlo was conceived as a riff on then real-life Hollywood stars of horror like Boris Karloff and Basil Rathbone, with the fictional Karlo languishing as a B-movie actor when he discovers one of his classics from a decade ago is being remade without him. He thus assumes the persona of Clayface, a character he previously played, to become a serial killer and hunt down the new cast and crew. Really just a pulp villain, there wasn’t a lot to Clayface as originally conceived.
That changed in Detective Comics #298 when a new Clayface, aka Matt Hagen, was introduced in 1961. A treasure hunter and adventurer, Hagen is even pulpier when he falls into a mysterious radioactive pool at the bottom of a cave and sees his body transform into a malleable claylike substance that can be used to change into anything. However, the arguably definitive version of the character did not become fully formed until the first season of Batman: The Animated Series (1992), which combined both previous incarnations and turned Hagen into a washed up movie star who once had a glittering career. He pursues experimental chemical therapy to repair his damaged face after a car accident, but due to the machinations of a crime lord, he is forced to overdose on the stuff, turning him into a hideous claylike monster… who like any good actor can transform himself into anything or anyone he wishes.
It is unclear which interpretation Reeves would favor, and technically it’d be quite easy to slip the original Finger/Kane version into the world created for The Batman. However, we hope that is not the case. The previous Nolan trilogy already deeply explored a version of Gotham City where everything had to be grounded in at least the illusion of plausibility. And while The Batman is in some ways even grittier, it also doesn’t mind focusing on world-building its mythology like a comic book or featuring a climax where the villain hopes to flood all of Gotham City.
If The Batman was our introduction to the dark and dreary world of Gotham, a sequel could peer down to see just how deep the rabbit hole goes. And find a villain capable of transforming his body via grotesque clay into the countenance of others would be a striking departure for the new Dark Knight series. The rumor is also intriguing since Deadline’s sources are unsure if Reeves might have cut Clayface. Could we be getting an even larger, more robust version of the rogues gallery? A trip to Arkham Asylum could surely open the world up.
We’ll undoubtedly know more soon since The Batman 2 is scheduled to release on Oct. 3, 2025.