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Dark Knight Rises' Huge Batman Villain Connection (That Only Real Fans Noticed)

There are numerous things within the "Dark Knight" trilogy that you likely missed, as every film is meticulously crafted and jam-packed with detail. After all, the three-film series stems from the mind of director Christopher Nolan, who has consistently made films that require more than one watch to fully wrap your head around. Speaking specifically to the hidden details of "The Dark Knight Rises" from 2012, the visionary filmmaker managed to include an individual vital to the creation of an iconic Batman villain, who fans of "Batman: The Animated Series" likely spotted almost immediately.

In the final Dark Knight trilogy installment, John Daggett (Ben Mendelsohn) of Daggett Industries is incorporated as one of Bane's (secret rapper Tom Hardy) allies in his bid to send Gotham City into disarray. In "Batman: The Animated Series," Roland Daggett (Ed Asner) is the figurehead of the pharmaceutical company Daggett Industries. His company creates a facial cream called Renuyu, which allows users to change their face any way they wish. Actor and criminal Matt Hagen (Ron Perlman) takes his use of it too far, eventually transforming into one of Batman's (Kevin Conroy) most tragic villains, Clayface.

The presence of Daggett and his company in "The Dark Knight Rises" could indicate that Clayface exists or could at some point in this film's universe. Ultimately, the Batman rogue doesn't pop up on screen, nor has he in a live-action film in the decade-plus since the series ended. If rumors are correct, however, that's about to change.

After his Dark Knight Rises tease, Clayface could be on his way to the movies

Since the Dark Knight trilogy concluded in 2012, Batman has been rebooted in live-action twice. First came Ben Affleck's take on the character in 2016 for the now-defunct DC Extended Universe, with him failing to land his own solo movie let alone do battle against Clayface before his tenure ended in 2023. The other retry came in 2022 via director Matt Reeves' "The Batman," featuring Robert Pattinson as Gotham's protector. This attempt found strong success with spin-offs and sequels in mind. As it turns out, this or a separate continuity could be the place where Clayface finally makes it to the silver screen.

In March 2023, Deadline reported that "Doctor Sleep" director Mike Flanagan was working on a Clayface solo project set apart from the "Batman" continuity. While those in charge of DC at the time didn't turn the idea down, Deadline also noted that Clayface could become a major player in the highly-anticipated "Batman 2." In the event he does make it into the sequel or gets a film all his own — either as his more grounded, mysterious version from his earliest appearances or his more monstrous shapeshifting one seen in modern times — it'll be a nice payoff of his "Dark Knight Rises" tease.

With the "Batman" continuity expanding and James Gunn and Peter Safran's DC Universe soon to launch, here's hoping Clayface terrorizes the movies sooner rather than later.