Over the past week, people have been debating who the best live action Joker is, with many citing The Dark Knight’s Heath Ledger and others favoring Suicide Squad’s Jared Leto. A brilliant performance that none of us should forget though was that of the one turned in by Cameron Monaghan, who played Jerome Valeska (a Proto-Joker) on Gotham. Although he lacked a purple suit, green hair, and perma-white skin, I felt he may have come closest to bringing the comic book version of the Joker to devilish life.
Early in Season 2, Jerome was unfortunately killed off after a three episode arc that arguably stole the entire season. At the time, it was said that his character merely planted the idea of the Joker in Gotham City, but so many fans responded to him in such a positive manner that it may have forced a course correction. Considering that Fish Mooney was recently resurrected, many of us were filled with hope when it came to Jerome following suit.
After months of the series’ creative minds playing it coy, executive producer John Stephens finally said the words we’ve all been waiting to hear when speaking to Zap2it:
“It is 100% our intention to bring Jerome back. We’re going to be playing it again this year and basically extending the idea of the cult of Jerome. We’re building the architecture for him to come back.”
Notice that he used the phrase “cult of Jerome.” Up until recently, it had often been referred to as the “Joker cult.” I fancy myself as being highly analytical and not one to grasp at straws, so that sounds to me like Jerome is, in fact, the man that will become the Joker and, thankfully, not his precursor.
Stephens goes on to say just as much, but stresses that this will be a marathon, not a sprint:
“You’ll have these underground movements that have started to talk about Jerome and what he represented and how he’s going to come back like in the days of John the Baptist. Setting the stage that if there is a Season 4, hopefully we’ll bring that back in a much bigger way and you’ll see these different versions of the Joker myth.”
When that day comes, expect his return to be “fantastic” and for him to differ from his previous appearances. Regardless of whether or not green hair is included in the deal, you can rest assured that the widest of smiles is on my face – along with the citizens of Gotham, whether they like it or not.
Gotham returns for its third season on Monday, September 19 on Fox.