Gotham showrunner Bruno Heller commented on those Joker rumors and revealed new characters and subplots for Season One of the series in two interviews at the TCA (Television Critics Association) press tour last weekend. He started by clarifying there won’t be a potential Joker in every episode, as was rumored, but they will tease the Joker’s identity and “hopefully fool them in the end”.
Heller also explained to IGN why Pamela Isley (Poison Ivy, played by Clare Foley) is named “Ivy Pepper” on the show.
“If you just re-tell stories exactly as they’ve been told before, whilst you’re being true to the created mythology, you’re not really adding anything to it. […] We’ve set up a situation in which Ivy Pepper, her mom is sick, her dad is dead… She’s going to go to the orphanage. And she’s a nice young girl; relatively undamaged. And she will find people to adopt her. And then we will start on the Poison Ivy story that people are familiar with.”
In other words, expect the new parents to rename her, but don’t think she’s forgotten the name Ivy.
The biggest reveal, however, came from IGN’s second interview with Heller, in which he reveals two more villains we’ll see in Gotham: Hugo Strange and Harvey Dent.
“Hugo Strange is going to pop up because we’re going to start dealing with how Arkham was created and why Arkham was created in the way that it was so, yeah, absolutely. It’s a Season One thing because in our telling of it the way Arkham was created and the why and how is one of the causes of the particular criminal climate in Gotham that allowed Batman to happen. The revolving door of Arkham is both a brilliant narrative device because it allows you to — you don’t have to kill people off, you can just put them in cold storage — but if you’re telling the story from the start you kind of have to explain, ‘What the f***? Why don’t you make that place a place people don’t escape from?’ We’re going to explain why it is the way it is and Hugo Strange is a big part of that.”
Heller added that Harvey Dent will be older in this version of the Batman story. He’ll be closer to Gordan’s age in order to avoid making the show “a high school story.” Having all of the villains be close to Batman’s age, after all, would mean a series filled with creepy, precocious child actors. No thank you.
And yet, for all of Heller’s talk about the Joker hints being more subtle than rumored, this trailer released by Fox would beg to differ.
This is an alternate cut of the second trailer. The original version ended with Jim Gordon finding a personalized note at a crime scene, which we commented at the time could be a Joker reference. This version ends with a much more unmistakable Joker reference, this shot:
There is no way director Danny Cannon wasn’t referencing this iconic poster of Heath Ledger:
Fox has also released three new TV spots, which definitely contain potential spoilers for how the pilot episode ends. The first is the most spoiler-filled. The second shows The Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) promising chaos and rivers of blood in the streets. The third brings us Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) informing us, “This is not a city or a job for nice guys.” Oh man, is this Gotham City or Misandry-ville? #FRIENDZONE
Gotham airs Mondays at 8/7c on FOX starting September 22nd.