Batman’s Most Tragic Villain Is Finally Coming To The Big Screen?

Batman villain Clayface has been pitched for a solo movie by director Mike Flanagan.

By Jonathan Klotz | Published

Batman: The Animated Series has had a lasting impact on the Caped Crusader, most notably, his rogue’s gallery, which was presented in a more sympathetic light than ever before, including Mr. Freeze and Two-Face. According to an exclusive report from Deadline, Batman villain Clayface may be getting a solo movie. The mutated actor, formerly known as Basil Karlo, was pitched for a movie by Doctor Sleep filmmaker Mike Flanagan, and amazingly, DC hasn’t said no to the idea.

Putting a Batman villain front and center in their own project isn’t a crazy idea anymore, not with the success of Joker, Birds of Prey, and the upcoming Penguin series. Flanagan is known for his work with horror, making him a perfect fit for a monster movie starring the shapeshifting beast out for revenge. There’s a second possibility regarding where he might be showing up, and this one also makes sense.

Matt ReevesThe Batman 2, despite the Joker tease at the end of the first film, could also be where we see Clayface turn up. Deadline’s reporting says that he was a major part of the script for the Robert Pattinson sequel at one point. Plans change, and this early in the creative process, it’s not unheard of for movies to undergo major revisions, but if James Gunn and Peter Safran are even remotely considering Clayface, it’s a major step for the character.

Flanagan has been vocal about supporting the Batman antagonist for years, even tweeting two years ago about a standalone Clayface horror/thriller/tragedy. Talks progressed to the point that he had a sit-down meeting with both Gunn and Zafran about the project, even though he publicly admitted to a previous meeting with DC producer Jon Berg that went nowhere. During that first meeting with Berg, Flanagan also pitched projects for the horror-themed characters Scarecrow and John Constantine.

Regarding Batman: The Animated Series villains, Clayface’s backstory about a fading B-movie star trying to maintain relevancy and making a figurative deal with the devil, crime boss Rupert Thorne, is second only to Mr. Freeze in terms of being a tragedy. Karlo is doomed to eternal life as anything, and anyone, except himself, as that’s the only form he can’t take.

In the world of DC comics, Clayface became an ally of Batman’s, working with the Gotham Knights led by Batwoman at the start of the DC Rebirth launch in 2018. The former villain became a fan favorite, and while there have been some lapses back into villainy for various reasons, he’s now in the same morally grey area as Man-Bat. With the greatest rogue’s gallery in comics, only Spider-Man comes close; nearly any Batman villain can be worked into the star of their own movie.

Though no one wants to see a Professor Pyg feature film, turning Batman’s Gotham on its head and making Clayface the hero of a tragic horror film sounds good to us. If it does happen, it may not be for a while, as Mike Flanagan is currently working on adapting Stephen King’s The Dark Tower into a streaming series.