BATMAN: THE DOOM THAT CAME TO GOTHAM - Check Out Our Exclusive Interview With Writer Jase Ricci

Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham writer Jase Ricci talks to us about his approach to this new Elseworlds story, breaking down his transition from lighter projects to this much darker DC Universe...

Inspired by the comic book series by Mike Mignola, Richard Pace and Troy Nixey, Warner Bros. Animation's Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham is a 1920s-based tale that finds explorer Bruce Wayne accidentally unleashing an ancient evil, expediting his return to Gotham City after a two-decade hiatus.

The logic/science-driven Batman must battle Lovecraftian supernatural forces threatening the sheer existence of Gotham, along the way being aided and confronted by reimagined versions of his well-known allies and enemies, including Green Arrow, Ra’s al Ghul, Mr. Freeze, Killer Croc, Two-Face, James Gordon and Bruce’s beloved wards.

This mystical, often terrifying Batman adventure unlike any other features a screenplay from an unexpected source: Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse scribe Jase Ricci.

Perhaps best known for his work on DC Super Hero Girls, the writer explores a much darker version of the DC Universe in Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham, and absolutely knocks it out of the park. Next up for him is Batman: Caped Crusader, and Ricci talks to us about that and the work he did on this project.

As well as breaking down his approach to this story, we hear from Ricci about making the transition from the aforementioned kid's shows to this movie, what he loves about Elseworlds, and why this version of Batman is so unique. 

You can check out our full conversation below. 


You’re adapting a very specific comic book run here, but what would you say was the biggest challenge in finding a way to make it work as a movie while also bringing your own ideas to the table?

There was a lot to it, thanks for the question. Obviously, you have a lot of…I don’t want to say masters to please, but you have Batman, H.P. Lovecraft, and the original text. You’re spinning a lot of plates and want to make sure everybody is getting their proper due. Thankfully, during the development process, Jim Krieg was amazing, as always, and Sam Liu was heavily involved so we found that balance. There’s a lot to get into 88 minutes and you wish you had more time and you want to dive more deeply into it, but for me, it wasn’t just important to be faithful to Batman, but to be faithful to Lovecraft as well. I think that was one of the things the original book did well and I wanted to make sure we maintained it here. 

In terms of bringing it to a feature story, as great as the book was, a three-part graphic novel is a very different sort of story than a feature. It was a challenge just finding that throughline and bringing emotional connectivity to it. That’s no criticism of the book whatsoever, but it was a case of finding it for the movie. That was the fun and challenge for me; bringing emotionality to Bruce Wayne. 

When it came to things that were fun to change from the book, it was small things like taking Batman in the third act as he travels to Ra’s al Ghul’s dimension, he has to fight these werewolf guards…dude, I love werewolves, and it killed me to pitch to get them out of there. Instead of that, we put in the bodies of his dead friends as reanimated corpses as I feel like that’s about his pitting science against the supernatural and there’s nothing more supernatural than having your dead friends come back and challenge your desire to hold on to science [Laughs] and rationale. 

This is a very epic story, but I really appreciated the smaller moments such as Bruce and Lucius talking about the way he’s secretly been running the company in a time when that might not be the norm; as a writer, what do you enjoy most about character beats like that? 

Who wouldn’t like working with Batman? He’s always a challenge and my favourite scene is the goodbye scene with Alfred and Bruce where Alfred calls him ‘son.’ For me, Kai Li was a character who, while she’s kind of in the book, isn’t really, making this a revised version. I was glad that we had the space to build out that relationship with Oliver Queen and build him out a little more and how he was sort of a mirror image to Bruce without either of them even knowing it in a lot of ways. He’s dealing with almost the same parallel issue because of his dad’s history and the guilt that he felt and how he hid behind drink and machismo. If I had my druthers, I could do a Kai Li and Oliver show as I really liked that pairing. That was something not necessarily in the book that much as it was Tim Drake there, but I really liked that relationship. 

Having spent some time in the DC Super Hero Girls and Teen Titans Go! worlds, what was it like for you to transition from that into this very dark story revolving around this supernatural Batman?

Amazing. And by the way, Josh, thank you for remembering we talked - I’m flattered [Laughs]. It was great because it’s weird…I’ve been able to write, in one year, five versions of Batman which are all completely different. I don’t know how much of DC Super Hero Girls you’ve seen, but Batman in that show just makes a lot of grunts. I’m also a co-EP on Bruce Timm’s new Caped Crusader series and wrote the first episode for that and worked on the finale and a bunch of other episodes. It’s just really fun to take this character who, despite there being so many different interpretations, there’s something very solid at the core there that people respond to. It’s tapping into that commonality and that common idea but building out how you want to make it different. In a lot of ways, it’s a challenge because you’re like, ‘Dang, how many Batman stories are there?’ but there are a million Batman stories and there could be a million more. You just have to find what’s different about this story and take. It was very liberating because, to be honest, I’m a horror guy. I think you are too, right? I’m huge into horror so that made this a dream come true. 

We learned recently that Batman: Caped Crusader is heading to Amazon; is that a project you’re still working on and, if so, how do you feel about the show finding a home there? 

Yeah. There was some uncertainty, but part of me was like, ‘C’mon, somebody is gonna want to see this show.’ [Laughs] I don’t know how far I can talk about it, but in the back of my mind, I had absolute faith. It is so exceptional and so much fun. I didn’t want it to be Batgirl because I was heartbroken about that as it was a movie I really wanted to see. I know it’s apples and oranges, but still…in my heart of hearts, I knew it was going to go somewhere. It’s great news. 

You’re able to put a fresh spin on so many iconic DC Comics characters here, but who would you say you had the most fun exploring in this unique Elseworlds setting? 

Oh, yeah, what would be cool is a series…I’d like to take all sorts of characters and put them through this fun filter. Like with Caped Crusader and DC Super Hero Girls, and Teen Titans Go!, you take a common DC character and put them through the lens of that show. What would Aquaman be in this world? A lot of Lovecraftian monsters are from the deep and you can see how you’d make a connection there. Deadman too. It would be really fun to see what these other versions of the characters would be like in this world. In terms of those I’d like to explore further, one of the more painful things was knowing I could only spend so much time with them. You don’t want it to be a travelogue where you’re introducing this character and that character. I wanted to get as many as we could, but I’d love to see more of Oracle. She’s really interesting. She chooses to live in an insane asylum because it’s better than the world outside, but she can talk to ghosts and isn’t Hannibal Lecter, but is an expert you go and see. What is her deal? That would be a really fun person to build on. 

Batman is an icon but this movie doesn’t necessarily feature the Dark Knight we’re all familiar with; what was your favourite thing about this unique take on Bruce Wayne? 

He’s absolutely unlike any of the others [I’ve written] and that’s what makes it fun. He’s not the traditional Batman and this is a very different take on him. This was an opportunity where there was an end to this character…the thing with Batman is he’s very constant because he’s Batman, but here, there’s a little more freedom because it’s an Elseworlds story and, while he doesn’t die, there’s a finality to it. You can have a satisfying arc and take him from one place where he’s a man of science and logic and then…in traditional Batman movies, whenever he comes up against a supernatural force, he’ll always find the sci-fi way to beat it. ‘I’m up against vampires? Well, here’s an ultraviolet ray I can build in my lab!’ Here, that doesn’t work. He can’t use science to beat them and has to embrace the dark side. I feel like when that happens in other movies, he fights back that belief and holds on to science. Here, the whole point was letting go and I think that was really liberating. 

Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham is now available to own on Digital, 4K and Blu-ray!

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