In the years to come, audiences will witness two Batmans (Batmen?) take the big screen. While Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman promises to introduce an older, seasoned, and more cynical hero, The LEGO Batman Movie will see Affleck’s self-loathing and raise him some satire. Meanwhile, on the small screen front, the Caped Crusader has barely learned to throw a punch – much less a batarang. And while Gotham has teased young Bruce Wayne’s transformation time and time again, the second season will focus on the transformation of his notorious rogues gallery, via the “Rise of the Villains.”
Both teasers and posters alike for the upcoming season have already highlighted this “rise.” Aside from Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) continuing his ascent to the underworld throne and Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) continuing his descent into madness, Gotham will introduce a new, misunderstood big bad. And just like last season, the show will once again employ multi-episodic arcs centered on other villains.
We’ve known for a while now that premature iterations of Clayface and Mad Hatter would figure into future episodes. And just recently, Jessica Lucas was cast as the villainess Tigress, lending the show some much needed girl power in the wake of Fish Mooney’s departure. Now, it seems Gotham only wants to add to said power, casting the traditionally male criminal Firefly as female.
According to an exclusive report from TVLine, relative newcomer Michelle Veintimilla (known for Lifetime’s Those Who Kill) will play the hotheaded pyromaniac – a.k.a. Bridgit Pike – in a two-episode arc airing late fall. Read the official character description released by FOX below:
“Enslaved by her brothers, a notorious gang of arsonists, Bridgit Pike is forced into the family business. When she catches the eye of Selina Kyle, the young Cat Woman and the soon-to-be-Firefly team up to put Bridgit’s firestarting skills to good use. But after a deadly encounter with the Pike Brothers, the meek Cinderella is transformed into a vengeful supervillain, hell bent on destroying those who have wronged her.”
Throughout comic book history, two versions of the infamous firestarter have existed. The first and most well-known – having been used in past animated series – is introduced as Garfield Lynns, a down-and-out visual effects expert who attempts to rob a theater by faking a fire. The second Firefly is Ted Carson, a lavishly rich gold mine heir who gambles away his family fortune and, as a result, turns to crime to continue his lifestyle. Both iterations have donned insulated battlesuits equipped with jet packs, flamethrowers, explosives, and other incendiary-related weaponry. That said, fans shouldn’t expect to see Bridgit fully decked out in a flame-proof, winged suit just yet. Hopefully, though, Gotham will work in creative nods to the signature costume until the character returns (assuming she will) in later seasons, more vengeful and destructive than before.
While the decision to deviate from canon and change Firefly’s gender most likely relates to creative direction on the writers’ part – and a desire to draw in a more female viewers – it can’t be overlooked that another current superhero program has already portrayed a version of Firefly: Arrow. The CW show featured the villain (the Garfield Lynns version) in season 1 as a former firefighter who was thought to have died on duty. However, he survived – albeit with horrific burns scaring his body – and became obsessed with revenge, targeting and murdering members of his old team. Gotham most likely wants to separate its incarnation of the foe from Arrow‘s – despite the latter committing suicide at the end of the episode – which helps explain the change.
Ultimately, the common thread amongst all personifications of Firefly is his/her intense, unyielding desire for revenge, an emotion often associated with the color red and burning imagery. As long as Gotham captures that essence of the character and develops her motivations authentically, fans shouldn’t be too up-in-arms that the show is playing with comic mythology – or fire.
Gotham returns for season 2 September 21st, 2015 @8PM on FOX.