Who Is Hugo Strange? A Short History The Newest Classic Batman Villain On ‘Gotham’

Gotham is about to get some bad medicine in the form of classic Batman villain Dr. Hugo Strange, played by B.D. Wong. On Gotham, Strange will be running Arkham Asylum, so a fair chunk of Gotham’s worst are winding up in his care. This includes, it turns out, the Penguin. But who is Hugo Strange? And why’s he such a threat?

Strange was, at first, the original recurring Batman villain, a bad guy in the classic mad scientist mold. Like most Batman villains, he had a gimmick: He used outlandish surgical techniques and drugs to create giant monsters for Batman to fight. One of his schemes was adapted by Bruce Timm for “Strange Days,” a short created in celebration of Batman’s 75th anniversary in 2014.

Strange faded into the background as Batman got more colorful and outlandish villains to punch out, but in the ’70s, he was revived as a psychiatrist obsessed with Batman, to the point of running around in a Batman suit. In fact, he remains one of the few villains who ever managed to get enough into Batman’s head to puzzle out his secret identity. He also remained interested in engineering giant monsters, although he took a sideline in gaslighting mobsters and running Arkham Asylum into the ground.

All of this makes Strange an unusually good fit for the back half of Gotham‘s second season. The show has been all about explaining why Gotham, which used to be your garden-variety corrupt city, turns into a magnet for every supervillain with a desire to commit crimes themed around their obsessions. B.D. Wong has been vague about what Strange is up to, but we know it’s not good:

What he is doing in there is indeed very, very bad. Imagine the worst thing someone might do. Then multiply that by 10.

That, paired with the show’s refusal to let anyone die, especially popular villains, would hint that Strange has been getting up to his monster-engineering ways, and that he’s getting help from the surprisingly shady Wayne Enterprises. It also ties in well with the show’s over-the-top aesthetic, which has Gordon accidentally triggering the C4 a criminal hides in his pants and Gordon and Bullock fighting killer monks. Really, at this point, bring on the cannibalistic mutants. They’ll fit right in!