Now that “Gotham” has officially been picked up to series, it’s time to start getting excited and thinking of all the possibilities the world can offer. So far, villains like Penguin, Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Riddler have been revealed. But Batman’s Rogue’s gallery has many more familiar faces that need to appear at some point, including one with a very chilling smile.
In a lengthy interview with EW, showrunner Bruno Heller says The Joker will definitely have a role on the show. “He’s the crown jewel of the Batman villains. He will be brought in with great care and a lot of thought,” Heller says.
That reveal leads to some other questions. For one, Joker doesn’t have a true origin story. There have been a number of versions told in the comics, and the character never gives a straight answer.
“The Killing Joke,” a 1988 graphic novel, is considered his most-accepted origin story. In the novel, he falls into a vat of chemicals while helping mobsters with a heist. That, combined with the sudden death of his wife and unborn child, drives the man who would be Joker into madness.
In the modern day, Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the character in “The Dark Knight” is the one most people fall back on as the definitive joker. “That was a wonderful performance and — apart from everything else — wonderful make-up,” Heller says. “And we should try to live up to that. It will be a different character. It’s certainly going to be more Heath Ledger than Cesar Romero. But like I say, all of these people are real people with feelings and emotions and history and parents. I just build from that.”
Though the Christopher Nolan universe is the regarded as the best screen version of the Batman tale to date, Heller has high hopes for “Gotham.” “I would say in terms of what [director and executive producer Danny Cannon and director of photography David Stockton] are doing — visually — ‘Gotham’ will surpass the Batman movies,” he says. “The movies are a very rigorous, kind of Germanic take on that world. They’re visually stunning, but not particularly visually pleasurable. I would say this is much more on the street level of Gotham.”
The series was just picked up, and Heller already has the entire first season planned out. While he won’t let many more details slip — there have to be at least a few surprises — he does want to make it clear this isn’t going to be a procedural. “There’s a procedural framework for it, but the world of ‘Gotham’ is too big and operatic and complex to do it any other way but serialized,” he explains.
What he will spoil is the final scene of the series, which a FOX executive has said in the past is Bruce Wayne putting on Batman’s cowl for the first time. “Yes, whether metaphorically or literally — something like that,” he says. “But that’s six or seven years down the line. Hopefully.”
“Gotham” premieres in the fall.