Gotham began as a Batman prequel series focusing on the seedy city before the rise of the Dark Knight, while slowly peppering in nods to the comics. But as the show heads into its fourth season, it’s slowly shifted into a series almost solely focused on the origin of the Caped Crusader and his greatest rogues.
When the new season arrives at the end of the month, Selina Kyle will be wielding a whip and rocking leather, a gangster born Cyrus Gold will crawl out of Slaughter Swamp as Solomon Grundy, and the Scarecrow will arrive in all his ragged glory. The Riddler, Mr. Freeze, Penguin, Firefly, and multiple other villains from the pages of DC Comics also regularly appear with their full supervillain personas intact from the page. And while Jim Gordon is still a far cry from the source material, Gotham’s other potential savior is on the verge of turning from Bruce Wayne to the Batman.
In the early days of Gotham, Bruce was often relegated to side stories with Alfred. Slowly, however, the pair became the heart and soul of the series. And while Bruce was sadly removed from many of the plots for the first couple of seasons, he began on the path to become his city’s savior. He started investigating the murder of his parents, began boxing with Alfred, and even attempted to live amongst the underbelly of the city for a brief time. As season two came to a close, he, Alfred, and Lucius Fox even discovered a proto-Batcave that Bruce’s father had used for an investigation of his own.
Though Smallville devoted much of its time to exploring how Clark Kent became Superman, Bruce’s evolution into the Dark Knight has been mostly occurring in the background. Still, the dozens of episodes of the show so far have moved him closer to the vigilante and detective that many know and love. Season 3 began throwing Bruce’s story more into the spotlight, allowing the plots to develop more cohesion as Bruce’s evolution became more apparent. From studying the Court of Owls to training in an ancient monastery, Bruce’s journey pulled more and more from comics and film.
After being manipulated by Ra’s al Ghul into killing Alfred (don’t worry, he survived), Bruce was finally able to grapple with the question of who he was and what he stood for. With a final push from his mentor, Bruce donned a long, black coat and ski mask and set out into the streets of Gotham to put his skills to the test and protect the innocent. The season ended with a shot of Bruce atop a building, coat flapping like a cape.
Since that time, we’ve seen promo art and trailers highlighting the proto-Batman suit Bruce will wear next season. While things have moved slowly over the past three seasons, this year will finally put Bruce in a suit and have him go out and fight crime. He’ll be chased by the GCPD, go up against villains like Scarecrow, and continue his complicated relationship with Selina. And yesterday, a brand new trailer for the season gave us our best look yet at the future Dark Knight.
In the new footage see Bruce learn to use a grappling hook, fight from the shadows, and patrol his city from the rooftops while Alfred plays the man in the chair. We also discover that Lucius Fox designed Bruce’s new suit and that, thankfully, it’s bulletproof. There’s no telling how much longer Gotham will last, but by the end of its fourth season, the show will have brought fans closer to a live-action Batman on TV than they’ve been in 50 years.
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