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Gotham showrunner confirms plans for Joker to appear on the series

05.08.2014

Now that Fox's GOTHAM has been picked up by the network for the Fall season, showrunner Bruno Heller has revealed new details about the show and the cast of characters before they become the iconic comic book villains. Heller, a veteran of shows like THE MENTALIST and HBO's period drama ROME, spoke with Entertainment Weekly about plans for the series.

Heller explained that GOTHAM intrigued him because of the lack of costumed characters. Unlike The CW's ARROW and THE FLASH, GOTHAM is going to remain grounded entirely in reality. Heller shared that the entire first season of GOTHAM is already planned out and will visit the various characters very early in their careers so as to allow for growth over multiple seasons. Specifically which characters will be met is a larger question.

Obviously, the Penguin, Riddler, young Catwoman, Alfred. Possibly Harvey Dent. Poison Ivy. Um and then there will be others, but I hate to Im so used to doing a police procedural, so Im used to telling, Next week hes going to go there. With this, its very much storytelling. So I would be remiss to tell you who will show up when. I will say were not going to skimp on giving people the characters they want and expect from Gotham. But when and how theyre going to show up is half the fun. Penguin is one of those guys that, as soon as you see him, you go, Oh, thats the Penguin. It would be hard to disguise him as somebody else.

It has been said before that GOTHAM could follow the rise of Bruce Wayne from orphan to superhero with the character donning the cowl in the final episode, similar to what SMALLVILLE did. But, the big question is whether or not the biggest villain in the Batman universe will make an appearance.

Hes the crown jewel of the Batman villains. He will be brought in with great care and a lot of thought. Ive written scenes for Julius Caesar and Marc Anthony and Cleopatra. So while that is a serious and valid note, you cant get into doing this without going there. [Heath Ledger's] 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. Its 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.

Heller also cites classic Batman comic "The Killing Joke" as a major influence so we can only assume he is not taking this lightly. I would expect GOTHAM to have a big opening and a potential loss of viewers if it doesn't keep interest. AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. had the same issue this season and is only now beginning to balance itself out. I would expect GOTHAM to save The Joker as a get out of jail free card if the ratings start to slip.

GOTHAM airs this Fall on FOX.

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11:28AM on 05/10/2014

Nope

I had high hopes for this show. Now I am seeing Pamela Isley as a child and Selinia as a tamed Hit Girl. The icing on the cake? You are wanting to bring the Joker in on it now too. These characters are supposed to come to light later on down the road.
I had high hopes for this show. Now I am seeing Pamela Isley as a child and Selinia as a tamed Hit Girl. The icing on the cake? You are wanting to bring the Joker in on it now too. These characters are supposed to come to light later on down the road.
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11:33AM on 05/09/2014
I guess the Killing Joke was the only batman comic ever written - oh there's year one and dark knight returns. Those are the only 3 stories anyone has read.
To the comment about "Penguin is one of those guys that, as soon as you see him, you go, Oh, thats the Penguin. - well when I saw the still picture of him I didn't know that was the penguin. Shouldnt he be short and fat!
Also, who cares about who people were before they became the characters we know. Maybe they should do a show on
I guess the Killing Joke was the only batman comic ever written - oh there's year one and dark knight returns. Those are the only 3 stories anyone has read.
To the comment about "Penguin is one of those guys that, as soon as you see him, you go, Oh, thats the Penguin. - well when I saw the still picture of him I didn't know that was the penguin. Shouldnt he be short and fat!
Also, who cares about who people were before they became the characters we know. Maybe they should do a show on Thomas Wayne then or maybe his father, or his grandfather - like how far back do you want to take it.

"Before he was the murdered in the alley and his son became batman, he was a regular business man who tried to make a difference."
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4:56PM on 05/09/2014
I don't think anyone is making references to only 3 comics in Batman's history. Though those are within the upper echelon his history it still doesn't excuse the common notion people are conveying: they existed only after Batman appeared. Gotham was, by all accounts, a really crime ridden city prior to the Wayne murders (which always worked best as Joe Chill being a disconnected villain and not associated with any other supercriminals). Considering they are from a visual medium, visual
I don't think anyone is making references to only 3 comics in Batman's history. Though those are within the upper echelon his history it still doesn't excuse the common notion people are conveying: they existed only after Batman appeared. Gotham was, by all accounts, a really crime ridden city prior to the Wayne murders (which always worked best as Joe Chill being a disconnected villain and not associated with any other supercriminals). Considering they are from a visual medium, visual representations and their deviations tend to spark concern among fans familiar with the property. It'd be nice to see Thomas save Carmine, to see the crime families warring between Gotham and Chicago.
11:28AM on 05/09/2014
I am sorry but if they attempt to explain Joker's backstory I'm done. His mysterious backstory is the reason why
I and millions of others love him. And also, its partially why I dislike Burton's Batman.
I am sorry but if they attempt to explain Joker's backstory I'm done. His mysterious backstory is the reason why
I and millions of others love him. And also, its partially why I dislike Burton's Batman.
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12:22PM on 05/09/2014
I always though it would have been great if The Joker was Bruce Wayne's older half-brother. A wealthy family with a dark secret, The Wayne's first child, a boy who's mental sickness forced them to send him away to an institution.
I always though it would have been great if The Joker was Bruce Wayne's older half-brother. A wealthy family with a dark secret, The Wayne's first child, a boy who's mental sickness forced them to send him away to an institution.
4:57PM on 05/09/2014
No. The mysterious nature of Joker's past is what makes him unique (ie, how they fucked Wolverine in the ass with Origins). Snippets are fine, allusions are great, but he is best described in Arkham Asylum as an individual who reinvents himself each day to contend with his environment. And Burton screwed the pooch, Batman should NEVER get justice for his parents, its what makes him a psychopath.
No. The mysterious nature of Joker's past is what makes him unique (ie, how they fucked Wolverine in the ass with Origins). Snippets are fine, allusions are great, but he is best described in Arkham Asylum as an individual who reinvents himself each day to contend with his environment. And Burton screwed the pooch, Batman should NEVER get justice for his parents, its what makes him a psychopath.
7:58AM on 05/09/2014
ugh, what??? First of all, you say it's going to focus on Gordon and his team. Where we can assume he's dealing with corrupt cops, bias lawyers and the seedy underbelly of Gotham. Now I get this feeling after every third of fourth episode, they'll throw a villain in there to excite the typical lame nerd. It feels like the show will focus on Jim Gordon squaring off against kids.
ugh, what??? First of all, you say it's going to focus on Gordon and his team. Where we can assume he's dealing with corrupt cops, bias lawyers and the seedy underbelly of Gotham. Now I get this feeling after every third of fourth episode, they'll throw a villain in there to excite the typical lame nerd. It feels like the show will focus on Jim Gordon squaring off against kids.
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11:34AM on 05/09/2014
YUP! That's what is fucking sounds like. I was sort of on board before, but now it's just too stupid.
YUP! That's what is fucking sounds like. I was sort of on board before, but now it's just too stupid.
3:30PM on 05/09/2014
Same here... I liked the trailer, shots of Bruce and Jim taking him under his wing. But now it seems like were going to see what they ate in the cafeteria.. I really hope were wrong.
Same here... I liked the trailer, shots of Bruce and Jim taking him under his wing. But now it seems like were going to see what they ate in the cafeteria.. I really hope were wrong.
7:14AM on 05/09/2014
I would rather see Gordon going up against Carmine Falcone, Rupert Thorne and such. With him occasionally facing off against Bats second tier villains before they went insane and Batman arrived. So like Jervis Tetch, Jonathan Crane, Victor Fries, Matt Hagen and Kirk Langstrom. The Ventriloquist and Scarface could be really cool if they do it right.
I would rather see Gordon going up against Carmine Falcone, Rupert Thorne and such. With him occasionally facing off against Bats second tier villains before they went insane and Batman arrived. So like Jervis Tetch, Jonathan Crane, Victor Fries, Matt Hagen and Kirk Langstrom. The Ventriloquist and Scarface could be really cool if they do it right.
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3:33AM on 05/09/2014

No Joker giving kids wedgies please...

Agree with most people about the Joker. I'm not interested in his upbringing and childhood and I think it de-mystifies him.
But for the show itself, I'm in. I'm not a bat-aficionado and I don't care who came first, the bat or the penguin. But to see Jim battling young-ish iconic batvillains seems like a hoot to me.
Agree with most people about the Joker. I'm not interested in his upbringing and childhood and I think it de-mystifies him.
But for the show itself, I'm in. I'm not a bat-aficionado and I don't care who came first, the bat or the penguin. But to see Jim battling young-ish iconic batvillains seems like a hoot to me.
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3:29AM on 05/09/2014

No idea how this will turn out

but at least its not on the CW so it does have a chance to be good at least.
but at least its not on the CW so it does have a chance to be good at least.
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8:52AM on 05/09/2014
So you are saying Arrow is bad?
So you are saying Arrow is bad?
12:16AM on 05/09/2014
i like the killing joke but i always thought not knowing where the joker came from and what happened to him is more interesting
i like the killing joke but i always thought not knowing where the joker came from and what happened to him is more interesting
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11:21PM on 05/08/2014
How can anybody hate that trailer what with all the inception-ish music? BWWAAAAAHH!!
How can anybody hate that trailer what with all the inception-ish music? BWWAAAAAHH!!
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11:13PM on 05/08/2014
INT. GOTHAM COMEDY CLUB - NIGHT

"For our next act, please welcome Jack Napier!"

"I mean, what's the deal with the police right?"

Gordon in the audience: "BOO!"

"That's it, I shall become a supervillain!"
INT. GOTHAM COMEDY CLUB - NIGHT

"For our next act, please welcome Jack Napier!"

"I mean, what's the deal with the police right?"

Gordon in the audience: "BOO!"

"That's it, I shall become a supervillain!"
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10:47PM on 05/08/2014

wasteful

this show feels like a waste of time
this show feels like a waste of time
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10:25PM on 05/08/2014
I don't get where people are getting that batman will appear by the end of the first season. Nothing he said indicates that.
I don't get where people are getting that batman will appear by the end of the first season. Nothing he said indicates that.
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9:43PM on 05/08/2014
I thought that this show was going to focus on Gordon, Gotham, and its corrupted crime BEFORE all of the Batman villains started terrorizing the city. If there going to decide to throw all of the main villains in there in one season, then it's going to be overkill.

They should just have Gordon going after regular criminals/mob families and foreshadow future Batman villains while doing so. Like others have said below, these villains only exist because of Batman.
I thought that this show was going to focus on Gordon, Gotham, and its corrupted crime BEFORE all of the Batman villains started terrorizing the city. If there going to decide to throw all of the main villains in there in one season, then it's going to be overkill.

They should just have Gordon going after regular criminals/mob families and foreshadow future Batman villains while doing so. Like others have said below, these villains only exist because of Batman.
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4:49PM on 05/09/2014
Which is why I almost expected a Reaper nod.
Which is why I almost expected a Reaper nod.
+0
9:12PM on 05/08/2014
Why does the trailer do a shout out to individual characters at the end? Also the poison ivy one looks terrible. A 13 year old by a plant!
Why does the trailer do a shout out to individual characters at the end? Also the poison ivy one looks terrible. A 13 year old by a plant!
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9:18PM on 05/08/2014
I know, after all the fapworthy materials over the years thats just wrong.
I know, after all the fapworthy materials over the years thats just wrong.
9:10PM on 05/08/2014
I hope they're referring to a much younger version of The Joker (before he even was a criminal). I've always liked The Joker to be an absolute; a fully-formed villain with very little backstory, but if they're planning on throwing a little easter egg or hint here or there, then a glimpse of The Joker as a kid whose life parallels Bruce Wayne's could be a pretty cool nod. Then again, I know they're just going to throw a fullblown Joker in there. :(
I hope they're referring to a much younger version of The Joker (before he even was a criminal). I've always liked The Joker to be an absolute; a fully-formed villain with very little backstory, but if they're planning on throwing a little easter egg or hint here or there, then a glimpse of The Joker as a kid whose life parallels Bruce Wayne's could be a pretty cool nod. Then again, I know they're just going to throw a fullblown Joker in there. :(
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9:16PM on 05/08/2014
I don't want to see Joker as a kid! Fuck that. I don't want to see anything about him except maybe an allusion to him walking out of a comedy club looking like a failure and turning to young bruce and saying, "Life is such a big joke...and I'm still looking for the right punchline."
I don't want to see Joker as a kid! Fuck that. I don't want to see anything about him except maybe an allusion to him walking out of a comedy club looking like a failure and turning to young bruce and saying, "Life is such a big joke...and I'm still looking for the right punchline."
3:42AM on 05/09/2014
@Guybrush_Threepwood: You're being sarcastic..right? Walking out of a comedy club? That's just so corny!
@Guybrush_Threepwood: You're being sarcastic..right? Walking out of a comedy club? That's just so corny!
4:58PM on 05/09/2014
With the level of commitment to stupidity this show is already conveying...I was actually half serious! I just dont want them to go full retard.
With the level of commitment to stupidity this show is already conveying...I was actually half serious! I just dont want them to go full retard.
9:02PM on 05/08/2014

Dumb

I had no problems with them going NYPD Blue on Gotham, it could have even been interesting, but the majority of these characters did not exist until after Batman appeared. There is even a theory that Batman's appearance fostered the growing numbers of 'freaks' in Gotham, prior to that it was only the crime families....and The Reaper. I almost assumed that they were going to acknowledge the vigilante that preceded Bats, the one Phantasm was loosely based on, and having Bruce sort of see the
I had no problems with them going NYPD Blue on Gotham, it could have even been interesting, but the majority of these characters did not exist until after Batman appeared. There is even a theory that Batman's appearance fostered the growing numbers of 'freaks' in Gotham, prior to that it was only the crime families....and The Reaper. I almost assumed that they were going to acknowledge the vigilante that preceded Bats, the one Phantasm was loosely based on, and having Bruce sort of see the pitfalls of a murderous crime fighter sort of thing. Pamela Isely was still working with Holland at the time of the show's era. Penguin was a rich asshole, so he'd fit. Riddler has no one to play with. And Joker is still doing stand up comedy as a failure.
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8:44PM on 05/08/2014
It sounds like it might end up like Smallville. They ended up throwing just about every major Superman villain into that show at some point for better or worse (usually worse) and even had them defeated, but were afraid to officially make Superman Superman. This could be even worse because like others said, a lot of the Batman villains arguably only exist because of Batman. Also, the actor who plays Bruce Wayne in this is like a kid which makes it even worse. At least with Smallville they
It sounds like it might end up like Smallville. They ended up throwing just about every major Superman villain into that show at some point for better or worse (usually worse) and even had them defeated, but were afraid to officially make Superman Superman. This could be even worse because like others said, a lot of the Batman villains arguably only exist because of Batman. Also, the actor who plays Bruce Wayne in this is like a kid which makes it even worse. At least with Smallville they started in high school. That's an awful lot of time between when these villains will be running around in the show and when we're supposed to assume he becomes Batman.
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9:04PM on 05/08/2014
I know Smallville had its fans but I hated it. It was Dawson's Creek with Young Justice, and they made Clark a mopey idiot.
I know Smallville had its fans but I hated it. It was Dawson's Creek with Young Justice, and they made Clark a mopey idiot.
10:23PM on 05/08/2014
Yeah that's the thing, I actually wasn't a big fan of it either. It had it's rare moments, but there were some absolutely inexcusable and shameful things they did (the blatant ripoff episodes of movies like Saw and the Hangover come to mind first and were just an embarrassment). So it's not a good thing that I'm already getting that Smallville vibe from Gotham. Super hero shows that are afraid to have super heroes have gotten old.
Yeah that's the thing, I actually wasn't a big fan of it either. It had it's rare moments, but there were some absolutely inexcusable and shameful things they did (the blatant ripoff episodes of movies like Saw and the Hangover come to mind first and were just an embarrassment). So it's not a good thing that I'm already getting that Smallville vibe from Gotham. Super hero shows that are afraid to have super heroes have gotten old.
8:39PM on 05/08/2014
All of a sudden I have less faith in this series. For the sake of comparison, firstt season of Arrow works because it didnt try to put everything in a basket all at once. Story built up nicely to 2nd season where they start putting in more characters. I hope Gotham can do the same.
All of a sudden I have less faith in this series. For the sake of comparison, firstt season of Arrow works because it didnt try to put everything in a basket all at once. Story built up nicely to 2nd season where they start putting in more characters. I hope Gotham can do the same.
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+0
8:37PM on 05/08/2014

I'm confused! Can you help?

Wait what? I don't understand. First off, I'm a huge Bats fan - him personally but also his universe in general. So I thought this show was suppose to mainly focus on a young Gordon? I'm fine with that and the Gotham PD angle, but now they might do a Smallville type thing with Bruce? Is that just what this (and other?) writer is suggesting, or has a creator stated that? If the end of the season is Bruce getting his costume, I don't see how a TV show could last for long or even be really
Wait what? I don't understand. First off, I'm a huge Bats fan - him personally but also his universe in general. So I thought this show was suppose to mainly focus on a young Gordon? I'm fine with that and the Gotham PD angle, but now they might do a Smallville type thing with Bruce? Is that just what this (and other?) writer is suggesting, or has a creator stated that? If the end of the season is Bruce getting his costume, I don't see how a TV show could last for long or even be really good. But I thought they said Batman wasn't going to exist yet in this - that's why a kid was hired to play him. That's also fine, and I think it'd even be cool if Bats did exist but they focused only on Gordon and how he deals with the vigilante. I think any of that stuff could work, though probably not really well on a TV budget. So is this a Batman show or a Gordon show? It sounds like the creators don't really have a plan, or aren't really confident in it. If it's a Gordon show, Dent would be a character that makes a lot of sense, but only as Dent. I guess Penguin does too. But the biggest problem with the sound of this show so far (well, aside from it seeming like it doesn't know what it wants to be) is that one of the best parts about Bats and his world and makes him so complex is the question of did his existence motivate the costumed baddies to come out? If he never did his vigilante thing in that costume, would all the other characters have appeared? So in a way, is he somewhat responsible for that escalation? That question is incorporated into a lot of Batman mediums and Bruce and Alfred wonder if he has really just made things worse. I'm all for changing things up, but I think that's probably the third most important part of Batman. The first would be the death of his parents and how and him there, and the second would be his no killing rule. Introducing all these characters in their costumes before Batman exists removes that, and doesn't even really make much sense. It seems more like stunt casting than an organic story. And there's really no point in showing the joker before he became the joker. Maybe for a couple of episodes but he wasn't a major player like the penguin. He was a nobody, but it'll also ruin the mystery of why the joker is so crazy (that's why I love how he told different versions of how he got his scar in TDK). All that being said, I don't see how this could possibly work. It could maybe be a solid crime show, but I don't see how it could be a good Batman/Batman's universe one.
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9:06PM on 05/08/2014
Yeah, its going to be alot of bullshit with Bruce and Selina having some weird relationship as kids ta boot (when really it'd be more interesting to see her play against Carmine). I'd have no problems seeing Viktor as a doctor with a frozen wife and alot of nods to future possibilities of these guys....but shit man....Gotham didn't have freaks until batman came to town.
Yeah, its going to be alot of bullshit with Bruce and Selina having some weird relationship as kids ta boot (when really it'd be more interesting to see her play against Carmine). I'd have no problems seeing Viktor as a doctor with a frozen wife and alot of nods to future possibilities of these guys....but shit man....Gotham didn't have freaks until batman came to town.
7:56PM on 05/08/2014
As a BIG Batman fanboy, I'll probably pass. Besides if it tuns out to be good, chances ae Fox will cancel it after one season.. So why get invested?
As a BIG Batman fanboy, I'll probably pass. Besides if it tuns out to be good, chances ae Fox will cancel it after one season.. So why get invested?
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7:54PM on 05/08/2014
Batman is there when Joker is allegedly created. (It's never 100% confirmed)

The only way I am okay with "Joker" being in the series is if he only appears as Red Hood.
Batman is there when Joker is allegedly created. (It's never 100% confirmed)

The only way I am okay with "Joker" being in the series is if he only appears as Red Hood.
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9:07PM on 05/08/2014
Yeah but Red Hood = Batman already being Batman. So unless its like the Red Hood gang prior to Joker and he's still doing failed comedy then sure.
Yeah but Red Hood = Batman already being Batman. So unless its like the Red Hood gang prior to Joker and he's still doing failed comedy then sure.
6:09PM on 05/08/2014

The Joker shouldn't exist...

... as long as Batman doesn't exist ! Are they going to introduce the character in season 15 ? They just couldn't help it...
... as long as Batman doesn't exist ! Are they going to introduce the character in season 15 ? They just couldn't help it...
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5:54PM on 05/08/2014
Did anyone see that awful trailer? Awful... But this show has had an awful vibe the whole time.
Did anyone see that awful trailer? Awful... But this show has had an awful vibe the whole time.
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