Gotham is the FOX television series that tells the story of a young James Gordon and a young Bruce Wayne on their concurrent journeys to becoming Police Commissioner of Gotham and Batman, respectively. The show is currently in it’s third season and, as such, a number of heroes and villains have both joined and departed the ranks of Gotham.
With many of the staple Batman villains already having made appearances on Gotham (Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Penguin), they are having to delve deeper into the comics history in order to bring foes – and friends – into contact with Bruce Wayne.
A new report from Deadline has revealed that Raymond J. Barry (Justified, The 100) will be playing a “temple Shaman” – so, anyone at home with their copies of Batman: Shaman lying around will want to catch up on their readings now. Shaman will reportedly play prominently opposite David Mazouz’s young Bruce Wayne with the intention of unlocking the potential of his own mind. He states that the fate of Gotham is dependent on Bruce Wayne becoming the man the city needs him to be, although the truth behind Shaman’s motive may be far less noble than it initially appears.
If Shaman takes young Bruce Wayne under his wing only to lead him astray there is an interesting potential for conflict between him and Bruce’s guardian – and father figure – Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee). There is a chance, if this were to come to pass, that viewers would get a better look into Alfred’s combative past. This is not the first time that Bruce Wayne has come up against a metahuman foe, but it seems to be shaping up to be a powerful experience for the soon-to-be-vigilante to have with a mystical character.
Shaman also presents a compelling foe for show lead James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) to have to deal with. This is a villain that he can’t simply chase down and slap some handcuffs on and hope that a jail cell is enough to keep him off the streets for a while. In particular, if Shaman is able to form a close bond with Bruce Wayne, Gordon is going to have an uphill battle with this character.
Barry has played a wonderful villain on the small screen before and managed to bring a nuanced performance to characters that could be reduced to the simple description of “bad guy”. This sets the bar high for his performance on Gotham and it may also be a way to lend some gravitas to what, at first blush, may seem to some to be one of the show’s more silly characters.
Conversely, Gotham has a habit of painting its villains in broad strokes, which can sometimes leave them feeling cheesy and underdeveloped compared to some other DCTV shows currently on the air. If Shaman is shaping up to be just another mustache twirling baddie with a gimmick, then fans may be disappointed in the character.
Gotham returns to FOX on January 16, 2017.