Gotham is a fascinatingly odd take on the Batman mythos, so I was glad to hear the show had been granted a fifth season in order to round out its story. Though the upcoming final outing is a shorter run than usual, the show seems determined to bring as many Batman villains as possible to its universe. This season, we know we’re going to get Shane West as Bane, Cameron Monaghan’s weird-ass not-Joker and now it seems that Francesca Root-Dodson is going to be playing Harley Quinn. Or at least, a Joker girlfriend who is very, very like Harley.
The situation with what’s going on with Gotham’s take on the Joker and Harley Quinn is a pretty strange one. Remember in the early 2000s when Warner Bros. were bizarrely paranoid about their film and TV divisions promoting multiple versions of the same characters simultaneously? Well, something similar’s happening again, with Gotham being directed by WB’s film division not to step on Jared Leto and Margot Robbie’s toes.
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Here’s Monaghan to explain what’s happening:
“Pure green [hair] was off-limits to us (as well as the name “Joker”), a decision from high-up as they wanted to reserve these for films. A decision which ultimately I respect. They did not want to dilute the very lucrative brand. It allowed for creativity on our end.”
I suspect the true reason might lie in clauses in Leto and Robbie’s contracts that they alone be allowed to portray these characters. Whatever the case, it sounds very much like Root-Dodson’s role is pretty much going to be Harley Quinn.
After all, she’s the girlfriend of a deranged clown-themed villain living in Gotham who (according to showrunner John Stephens) dresses in multi-colored clothes and roller skates around the place. I mean, what more do you want? She’s Harley! But don’t actually call her Harley. Ugh, this is giving me a headache.
Gotham season 5 is a little ways off yet, as it’s not due to return to FOX until early 2019, but be sure to stay tuned as more updates arise.