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Who needs a rogues’ gallery when TV’s latest Batman prequel has Jack The Ripper?

A still from the 1959 film Jack The Ripper
Photo: Paramount (Getty Images)

When the Gotham duo of Danny Cannon and Bruno Heller take comics’ most famous chamberlain back to swinging London in Epix’s Pennyworth, they’ll have access to an ass-kicking Alfred, a living, breathing Thomas Wayne, and none of the Batman’s rouges gallery. In lieu of those colorfully twisted adversaries—some of whom find the idea of committing crimes, dare we say, funny?—Jack Bannon’s future preparer of Bat-pep talks and a little supper will face off with the likes of Bet Sykes, a lethally stylish addition to the Dark Knight mythos played by singer Paloma Faith. And besides: Who needs clown princes of crime and feline-obsessed master burglars when you can draft the most notorious murderer in British history?

“They will run into versions of real people,” Heller said during a panel at the Television Critics Association today, and those real people will include Jack The Ripper. Epix declined to comment on how exactly the serial killer—who remains unidentified to this day—will factor into the proceedings, but given that Pennyworth takes place during the 1960s, it’s safe to say the dude’s going to look pretty worse for the wear. If only there was some mystically inclined villain around whose canonical immortality could help explain how Jack has survived into the middle of a new century.

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This won’t be the first time that Jack The Ripper has set foot on Caped Crusader territory: The 1989 one-shot Gotham By Gaslight told the story of a 19th century Bruce Wayne whose return to his hometown coincides with a number of deaths that resemble the Ripper killings. But that book has Batman in it, so it’s unlikely to have any impact on television’s continuing hunger for Batman stories without Batman.

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