The Batman’s Jeffrey Wright Reflects On Making History As A Black Jim Gordon

Jeffrey Wright as Jim Gordon in The Batman
(Image credit: Warner Brothers)

The Batman’s Jeffrey Wright has been giving insight into director Matt Reeves’s take on Batman, explaining how the version of Gotham City in the film is different from others and revealing how hard it was filming with intense safety protocols. Wright will be playing Jim Gordon, the iconic police commissioner and ally to Batman, and Wright will be the first Black actor to portray him. Jeffrey Wright has reflected on making history as a Black Jim Gordon.

Jeffrey Wright spoke to Haute Living about No Time To Die, about his reoccurring role as Felix Leiter, the CIA Agent who has helped James Bond numerous times, and his upcoming role as Jim Gordon in The Batman. Wright reflects on the significance of playing Jim Gordon and his thoughts on why it’s really a no-brainer, saying:

If you give it a little bit of thought, Batman and the characters within Gotham City are fluid, evolving creatures. It would be doing a disservice, in fact, to these stories and to the history if we were actually beholden to the details of the original. When Shakespeare wrote female characters, they were written to be played by young boys. Are we to hold on to that tradition now in the 21st century because that was the limited lane that people were allowed at the time? It’s ridiculous. Beyond that, Gordon is many things. He’s relative to Gotham City, to the Gotham City police department, to Batman, to justice and to corruption — and none of those things require that he be white.

Jeffrey Wright explains that Batman and the characters in his world are able to evolve. Wright goes on to describe the character of  Jim Gordon and why none of the qualities of the character require him to be white. Wright is adamant about being accurate in the portrayal of an American Metropolis like Gotham City, and that characters being diverse makes sense in relation to the real world. He goes on to talk about what he sees as a problem in how stories haven’t evolved to keep up with the times, saying:

There have been some who I think have made more of it than they probably should, which I think reveals some deficiency [in our country]. In its first iteration in 1939, Gotham City was fashioned after an American metropolis much like New York City or Chicago. In 1939, New York was 90 percent white. The power structure in law enforcement in that city at that time would not have been inclusive of someone who looked like me; that’s the historical fact. But as these stories have continually evolved over these many decades, not only through the comics but also through the films, they’ve been reinterpreted through writers, directors and actors to be more contemporary to the times than they were made. Right now, if we were to imagine a Gotham City based on an American metropolis, to think of it as a place that’s only inhabited by white people is to be pretty idiotic. To be beholden to the demographic reality of 1939 urban America — what the fuck is the purpose of that?

Jeffrey Wright makes a great point about how society has evolved, and so should its storytelling to represent that change in meaningful ways. The 1939 New York that Gotham City was modeled after looks very different than today’s version and functions very differently. Society has changed, and Wright seemingly feels like movies have lagged behind. He is clearly enthusiastic about playing Jim Gordon in what he believes to be an accurate representation of what Gotham City actually looks like. Wright is outspoken and very passionate, and clearly has a lot of profound thoughts on the world and his industry.

The Batman is getting another spin-off series on HBO Max, which is a good sign for Matt Reeves and star Robert Pattinson. The spinoffs, including a Penguin series, will explore the world of Gotham and seem like they will be unique from one another and interesting in their own right. Matt Reeves has been teasing Robert Pattinson’s Batman’s new look, and hopefully, we don’t have to wait much longer to see it in all its glory. 

Robert Pattinson has teased some exciting scenes with Zoe Kravitz, who is playing Catwoman, and we cant wait to see what all the fuss is about.  The Batman is one of the most anticipated superhero movies of 2022, and we cant wait to see Gotham City and Jeffrey Wrights Jim Gordon.

Jamil David

Movie and TV obsessive. A good Heist movie is the way to my heart. Enjoyer of everything from Marvel Movies to Rom-coms.