While the live action DC universe has been grabbing all the headlines in recent weeks, Warner Bros’ animation department continues to steam forward. We have spoken ad nauseam about WB’s decade-long strategy of testing the waters of the superhero genre with their animated features, before deciding on taking a property to the big-screen. Well, it seems that the studio is up to their old tricks again. However, their newest upcoming feature may be a signal of larger change coming to the DCEU, than simply a new film title.
The next animated DC film on the slate is Batman: Gotham by Gaslight. It’s an Elseworld tale, that’s not necessarily connected to other properties and is intended to be an isolated story. Executive producer and Batman legend Bruce Timm is back with a dynamic, new adventure that looks to push the boundaries of DC/WB’s animated efforts.
Timm made his name by co-creating Batman: The Animated Series, which has been the birthplace of a lot of Batman’s modern canon and mythology. Whether it was the discovery of Mark Hamill as the voice of the Joker, or the creation of Harley Quinn, the show shaped an entire generation’s perspective of Gotham City. However in recent years, Timm has continued to take risks in his storytelling and with the characters that he helped to define.
Last year Timm steered the animated Batman franchise into controversy, with his retelling of the classic comic, The Killing Joke. In the film, Batgirl and Batman have a sexual relationship, which soured many traditionalists. The animated division now has the freedom to roam in Rated-R territory with their projects and Timm is fully aware of the newfound freedoms.
The next DC Comics’ film to take advantage is Batman: Gotham By Gaslight. The story takes place in the 1800’s and is based on the “Gotham By Gaslight” one-shot written by Brian Augustyn and drawn by Mike Mignola, the creator of Hellboy. It features a Victorian age Batman on the hunt for Jack the Ripper, the infamous real-world serial killer who targeted prostitutes as his victims. That background should immediately make it clear why this movie will carries its mature rating. Plus the comic’s status as an “Elseworld” story should be of note, particularly with the live-action films gearing up their own version of Elseworld stories, such as the upcoming Martin Scorsese Joker origin film.
This movie might be just the distraction that Batman fans are in need of, as the future of the DCEU shifts daily. The new sneak peek for the movie is an 8-minute featurette with some of the film’s prime creators offering their insight into the upcoming DC flick. There is a lot more to come from the world of Batman, but for now enjoy the video:
Batman: Gotham by Gaslight does not yet have a release date.