Spoilers ahead for Warner Animation's latest DC animated feature film, Batman: Gotham By Gaslight, is an adaptation of Brian Augustyn and Mike Mignola's beloved Elseworlds story by the same name -- but in the name of stretching a one-shot comic out to the length needed for a 75-minute movie, a number of changes were made along the way.
Characters were added, changed, or removed, and a large number of generic supporting characters were reinvented as turn of the century reinventions of Batman's supporting cast. While Gotham by Gaslight did not do that, it became common practice in Elseworlds stories almost immediately.
Oh, yeah -- and rather than using the killer from the comics, Jack the Ripper (the target of Batman's investigation) in the movie is Police Commissioner Jim Gordon.
Gordon, played by Gilmore Girls star Scott Patterson, believes himself to be "cleaning up Gotham," and dies at the end of the movie, seemingly leaving Harvey Bullock as as his likely successor as police commissioner in the event that they decide to make a sequel to this movie.
(The comics had a sequel, titled Master of the Future, so don't count that completely out.)
"I've got to tell you: it's the coolest role I've ever played in my entire career," Patterson said. "Every actor wants a role where they're the bad guy. The bad guy has much more license in an active sense than playing the good guy. Playing the good guy is really hard to do; you have to maintain that demeanor, that timbre through the entire film."
The idea to make Gordon the villain apparently came from Batman: The Animated Series icon Bruce Timm, who said that when he proposed it, writer Jim Krieg and other producers working on the film were taken aback and somewhat resistant.
"Alan Burnett and Jim and I were talking about the script, and we were talking specifically about who Jack should be," Timm said. "We were talking about having all these different red herrings and stuff, and I said, 'You know who it should be? It should be Commissioner Gordon.' Both Jim and Alan looked at me like 'What?' and then Alan started thinking about it and he said 'You know, he should be, because he would be the last person you expect it to be.'"
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