Fox’s upcoming Batman prequel series, Gotham, shot up our list of most-anticipated new shows with this week’s trailer debut. Many had questioned how a show about Gotham City before Batman roams the streets – and focusing on up-and-coming detective Jim Gordon – would turn out, but a lot of those worries have been put to rest.
Now, new questions have popped up in their place. Luckily for us though, showrunner Bruno Heller has opened up in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, divulging the details of the show’s conception, tone, characters, overall plans, living up to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, and more.
Heller confirms that the show will be serialized, rather than adopt a week-by-week procedural format. He also says that he’s got the entire first season (which will consist of 13 episodes) planned out, and hopes that it’ll go on for six or seven seasons.
As far as the genesis of the series goes, Heller says that he met with Warner Bros. President and COO Peter Roth and WB TV development chief Susan Rovner, and that the three of them essentially came to the meeting with the same pitch:
“What if young James Gordon was the detective who investigated the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents?”
“Once you make that connection, it opened up a whole world of storytelling that we realized hadn’t really been looked at before, which is the world before Batman — the world of Gotham, young Bruce Wayne, and young James Gordon and the origin stories of the villains.”
As far was which villains we’ll be seeing, Heller promises that many of them will be making appearances, but that they will be brought into the story in interesting ways.
“We’re starting way before these villains even themselves knew they were villains. Some of them started out as good guys. So there will be a lot of that.”
When asked about which characters we’ll see this season, good and bad, Heller said:
“Obviously, the Penguin, Riddler, young Catwoman, Alfred. Possibly Harvey Dent. Poison Ivy. Um … and then there will be others, but I hate to — I’m so used to doing a police procedural, so I’m used to telling, “Next week he’s going to go there.” With this, it’s very much storytelling. So I would be remiss to tell you who will show up when. I will say we’re not going to skimp on giving people the characters they want and expect from >Gotham. But when and how they’re going to show up is half the fun. Penguin is one of those guys that, as soon as you see him, you go, “Oh, that’s the Penguin.” It would be hard to disguise him as somebody else.”
One of the biggest questions on the minds of fans has been whether or not Batman’s arch nemesis would show up. The Joker is undoubtedly a tricky character to bring into a show like this, for a number of reasons. For starters, he’s always been portrayed as a direct response to Batman. Without Batman, there is no Joker, and vice versa. Despite this, Heller confirmed that the Joker will someday show up in the show. As far as how he’ll be brought in, especially with Heath Ledger’s iconic performance fresh in our minds, he said:
“He’s the crown jewel of the Batman villains. He will be brought in with great care and a lot of thought.”
“I’ve written scenes for Julius Caesar and Marc Anthony and Cleopatra. So while that is a serious and valid note, you can’t get into doing this without going there. That was a wonderful performance and — apart from everything else — wonderful make-up. 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.”