While the DCEU has been met with a mixed reception over the course of its short life, DC has had a much better go of things over on their TV side. The Arrowverse shows continue to be a boon to CW, and keeps expanding with Black Lightning being the latest addition. Meanwhile, Gotham has continued to provide Fox with solid ratings, despite its contentious relationship with fans and critics. Regardless of how you feel in terms of the rewrite the show has done on a number of classic villains, the campy and pulpy nature of the show is something original in terms of TV superhero shows. And though we may not see Bruce suit up as Batman anytime soon, his villains are coming into their own.
The recent midseason finale seriously increased the threat-level our protagonists face in the city of Gotham, and the return of Jerome as the show’s surrogate Joker is just one of the many villains of the series that serve more as the main characters than Gordon and Bruce do. We know Selina will be heading down a darker path, and Harley Quinn is also on her way. On top of all that, the Court of Owls continue to be one of Bruce’s biggest foes and seem to have quite a hold over Gotham.
Now, it looks like we’ll be meeting the man behind the machinations of the Court, and he’s none other than Ra’s al Ghul. Variety have learned that Alexander Siddig will be playing Gotham‘s incarnation of the villain. Like in the Christopher Nolan movies, he’ll head up the League of Shadows (rather than the League of Assassins like in the comics and on Arrow). The biggest deviation from his two previous appearances in live action, however, will be his ethnicity.
In the comics, Ra’s is from the Arabian Peninsula, whereas previous actors Liam Neeson and Matt Noble have both been white. Siddig, meanwhile, is of Sudanese descent, making him the first actor of Middle Eastern heritage to play Ra’s al Ghul on screen. Of course, Siddig doesn’t just break the whitewashing cycle of the character, but also brings some serious acting chops.
While no one could deny the power of Neeson’s performance in Batman Begins, Noble left something to be desired during Arrow‘s categorically weak third season. Siddig, meanwhile, is best known for his roles on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Netflix’s Peaky Blinders, and as Doran Martell on Game of Thrones. Sadly, the show deviated from the books and unceremoniously killed off Doran last season. Their loss, however, is Gotham‘s gain.
Gotham continues on April 24 with ‘How the Riddler Got His Name’ at 8 pm on FOX.