‘Gotham’ Showrunner Reveals Season 1 Facts & Info

Published 12 months ago by

Gotham TV Show Fox Logo Gotham Showrunner Reveals Season 1 Facts & Info

When Gotham was initially announced, the fan reaction was not what you would call ‘overwhelmingly positive’: “A Batman TV show with no Batman? No way!” …was what we heard echoing around the Interwebs. It was a valid concern: a Batman spinoff TV series set in Gotham  City immediately after the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents, years before the young man will ever don the iconic cape and cowl and begin a one-man war on crime? Where’s the hook?

Soon after it was announced that the show would not only follow detective James Gordon’s arrival in Gotham, but also chronicle the back stories of Batman villains (Joker, Penguin, Catwoman, Riddler, to name a few). Fans were intrigued. Then came the official Gotham trailer (which you can view below) and the tide officially turned: Gotham is no longer just one of OUR most anticipated TV shows of 2014. Between it, new Flash and Constantine TV series and the continuing success of Arrowfans are practically ready for a DC superhero TV revolution!

EW got to speak with Gotham showrunner Bruno Heller, who dropped a lot of info that curious fans probably want to know about. We’ve taken the liberty of condensing the full interview down into a list of facts for you speed-reading convenience:

  • The show is possible BECAUSE Batman does not technically appear in it (WB is using him, if you hadn’t heard). That’s okay with Heller, because to him superheroes are more interesting outside of the mask.
  • The hook of the pitch for the show was, What if young James Gordon was the detective who investigated the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents?
  • Jim Gordon as a new man in town was the entryway into the script; a lot of the heavy work was creating more extensive backstories for iconic villains.
  • Heller did his research, realized how many iterations of the characters there are, and when he’d absorbed enough, he created his own version of them.
  • Season 1 is fully plotted out in advanced, and the show WILL be serialized. A procedural wouldn’t have worked because the villains also get storylines. Fox is backing that approach.
  • Heller wouldn’t name-drop EVERY character who will appear in the show (some could be surprising), but he did say, “Penguin, Riddler, young Catwoman, Alfred. Possibly Harvey Dent. Poison Ivy.”

Gotham TV Show Series Villains Joker Young Bruce Wayne Gotham Showrunner Reveals Season 1 Facts & Info

  • Joker is coming, but it’s going to be a slow-burn and carefully built reveal.
  • It’ll be a darker sort of Joker (like Heath Ledger), but a new design; they aren’t shying away from interpreting the character for their own universe.
  • Likewise, the show makers aren’t letting the Nolan films define their take in any way. Heller goes so far as to say that Gotham will be better at articulating the street-level world of Gotham City, which he compares to ’70s NYC.
  • Unlike Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Gotham isn’t taking place in the same time period as an active superhero universe – it’s set before one. Heller believes that will help their show avoid the “valley of letdown” that comes with not being able to see Agent Coulson standing next to Thor or Iron Man every week.

Gotham TV Series Storyline Gotham Showrunner Reveals Season 1 Facts & Info

  • While certain iconic characters have a fixed trajectory, the characters around those icons are in play to create surprise, twists, character and story arcs, etc. In addition, there are Batman villains from way, way, back (like the 1940s) which people have not seen onscreen before.
  • There will be violence and darkness in this network show.
  • Donal Logue allowed them to make Harvey Bullock shine; Alfred (Sean Pertwee) will be a “dangerous” father figure with a military background, who slowly but surely allows Bruce to become a dark vigilante.
  • David Mazouz (young Bruce Wayne) is a “prodigy” according to Heller. His talent allowed them expand the use of Bruce Wayne in the series. NO WORRIES: Bruce won’t be trying to pull-off some child vigilantism every week. The show explores the “strange education” that leads to the formation of his alter-ego.

Gotham TV Show First Trailer Gordon Gotham Showrunner Reveals Season 1 Facts & Info

For our part, there are some reassuring things that Heller said:

  1. The angle of young Bruce Wayne has been a serious make-or-break element for us. Exploring Bruce’s mentality sounds so much better than having a young kid trying to be Batman (it’s probably safer too, legally speaking).
  2. Each of the principal characters sounds like a proper angle on an icon: new but still familiar, and appropriate for the hard-boiled, Noir-ish world of Batman.
  3. The fact that Season 1 is fully plotted out is comforting; shows with good showrunners and a fully-formed vision are the type we like to see. (Truthfully, network needs more of them.)
  4. A darker, violent world is what we’d expect from Gotham City. It’s good to hear that network TV (and let’s be honest… FOX) won’t be an impediment.
  5. The claims that Heller is making about the show’s visual palette and artistry are bold ones – hopefully it lives up to them.

As we said: Gotham is already at the top of our most anticipated TV shows list – how about you?


READ: Our Most Anticipated TV Shows 2014


Gotham is in development and expected to premiere on FOX in Fall 2014.

Source: EW

Follow Kofi Outlaw on Twitter @ppnkof
TAGS: Batman, Gotham
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  1. I’m not Batman!

  2. Alfred is gonna be a badass, haha. Can’t wait.

  3. You can’t have the Joker before Batman. This is wrong, wrong, wrong.

    • Well I find it weird that Bruce is a child and these villains are much older than him. Catwoman seems to be the only other young’n.

      • Agreed, but Poison Ivy does seem to be a younger character. Seeing characters like The Riddler at an older age will be odd (and not sure what direction they’re going to go with Joker, but a teenage joker sounds interesting, like something from Clockwork Orange). But Penguin seems to be about the right age, he’s usually shown to be in his 40′s or 50′s during Batman’s time.

    • There are other people that can play Joker other than Heath Ledger.
      But then again… no one can do the voice like Mark Hamill.

      • Well, Troy Baker did a good job as a younger version of Hamill’s Joker, and I think he could nail it in live-action, too. Just a thought.

  4. It’s too early to bring in a new Joker. I understand it’s not based in any current film universe but it’ll be too difficult to top Heath Ledger. But I am excited for this show. It should be a really unique universe.

    • 100% disagree. People are going to ride that excuse for the rest of Joker’s life. It’s been 6 years: it’s time to move on. At this point, it’s nostalgia trying to cripple creative evolution. We live in a world where actors like Daniel Craig, Chris Pine, and Andrew Garfield show that it is possible to overcome shadows that many thought would destroy their credibility. Ledger, like any actor, would like to see a character evolve.

      • I 100% agree with you ACW 007. Joker is such a diverse and interesting character and i for one am very excited to see someone new put their spin on the clown prince. Don’t get me wrong. I love Ledger. It was amazing. I think we can all agree on that. But just because one man did a character justice does not mean we shouldn’t see what other actors and writer’s can do with him. That being said, i am only slightly excited for this program. I hate to be picky but i am not at all pleased with the casting for Jim Gordon or the inclusion of Jada Pinkett in any roll. She is a bad actress who brings nothing other than her natural sassiness to every role she portrays. I also think she makes the show look cheap. Donal Logue is the only real draw for me on this show. Also, i think Sean Pertwee will make a badass Alfred. I don’t know. I guess i am just waiting to be swept off my feet but trying not to set my expectations too high.

      • I see what you are saying. I agree with you but what I am saying is that it may be too early to bring in a new Joker. Plus Batman isn’t in this show. You can’t really have the Joker without Batman. It honestly just depends on the actor and the way they take him. If they can make the Joker new and unique then I’ll be okay with it. It’ll just be easy to compare it to Heath.

        • @Tyler B
          While i may not agree with your “too early” argument, i do, however, agree with the sentiment that you can’t have a Joker without a Batman. I do believe this. There should not be a character called “The Joker” in a world without batman, but perhaps he could exist without being the JOker. The Dude has like a thousand origins. I would like for them to introduce him as not the Joker. Perhaps, just a comedian and a crook. maybe some Red Hood action. Maybe he kills Bruce’s parents in this one. There are so many directions they could go, but i agree that the entity known as “The Joker” doesn’t make sense to me without a “Batman” to put him against.

      • I assume you’re kidding about not wanting Alfred in this show because Michael Gough is dead.

  5. @ACW 007, 100% Agree.… And I feel that the sooner they create a new joker for this live action tv series, then (hopefully) it should be more except-able come time for a film version.

    • Good point @Jason about opening up the FIlm possibilities.

  6. And I really hope we get introduced to Roman Sionis and Family. Thant would be so, so sick!

    • YES YES YES! I think Roman Sionis would be excellent for this type of show. HOw about some Maxie Zeus action?

  7. The first trailer was a big letdown to me. It was all about name dropping, which is the last thing I want from this show. This article is way more reassuring, though.

  8. Are we going to see the Joker as we know him now, or are we going to see him in his younger years before he became the Joker?

    • That’s what I’m asking. Personally, I’d like to see a pathetic pre-joker, a guy you take pity on (similar to The Killing Joke). Then in season 2 or 3, turn him into the Joker. I know it’s weird to have a story with Joker and no Batman, but it’s a prequel show. There will be Batman EVENTUALLY. We’ve had plenty of Batman stories without Joker, why not a story with Joker and no Batman?

      Like I said earlier, in terms of how he’s portrayed (if he does become The Joker in this show) I’d like to see him as a teenager. I want to see a Joker similar to Alex from A Clockwork Orange. Something about a Joker in his youth sounds really creepy.

      • I like what your saying about him being a teenager and being similar to Alex in Clockwork. That movie legit disturbs me and that is what The Joker is really about.

        • I would REALLY like to see him as a terrible stand up comic, similar to the origin they tell in the Animated Series. alsooooooo, can we get some harleen quinzel in this story somewhere, even if she is a child or something.

  9. Arrow, Flash,Gotham and Constantine its a good time to be a comic book fan

    • We know. People need to stop saying that lol.

    • I don’t think people have to stop saying that. I think more of the people that write into these different comments postings, no matter which article it is, constantly need to be reminded that it is a good time to be a comics fan.
      Some of the comments I read in here, and not necessarily this particular one, just seem so full of some kind of animosity, and out and out hatred for particular things going on in the superhero film community, that some seem to forget that when something happens that doesn’t meet the approval of certain individuals, they seem to take it as a personal attack on what they like and forget that this is all for entertainment.

  10. I think even though six years passed Heath Ledger’s Joker is still fresh in some people’s minds because of the masterful depiction he did. I agree it’s time to move on but I think that Joker needs Batman and the contrary because that’s what makes those characters unique. I also wouldn’t mind seeing Ra’s Al Ghoul or Slade Wilson because they’re not difficult in terms of age comparison with Bruce they’re a lot older.

    • What depiction. ? Heath played an insane guy In clown makeup amazingly
      But he wasn’t anything like the comic book joker I would love to see a proper rendition of the joker

      • There’s no proper rendition if it’s him pre Joker. He needs to be Joker to get one which I doubt the series would do since the show runner said it’s similar to Heath’s or inspired by it. But if by proper you mean him falling on acid or chemicals that turn him to the Joker that is dumb and unrealistic unless New 52 version.

        • I don’t want a realistic Joker. I want something like a cross between the Hamill and DiMaggio Jokers brought to live action.

          To me, Nolan’s Joker = Victor Zsasz in clown makeup. Ledger was brilliant, but I HATE that version of Joker.

        • In the New 52 Death of the Family crossover, it showed a young Joker being beaten by his dad….I think it was one of the Suicide Squad editions because he was telling the story to Harley Quinn.

      • Finally! Someone who agrees with me! Heath Ledger was NOT the Joker. Now, I also agree that it would be weird to have the Joker without Batman. Still, they said it would be a slow reveal, so maybe I’ll fell different about it by then.

        • I also agree with you! While Ledger gave a great performance as the Joker, he wasn’t “the” Joker. The best way to remember anything about Nolan’s “Bat” trilogy is that it was an alternate universe. It was not the DC Universe as we know it, or most of us know it. It took place somewhere, sometime, but not in the regular universe. Maybe we can blame it all on Final Crisis if that will help. But as far as I’m concerned, while it was a kind of fun trilogy, it’s not the “standard” by which the rest of DC’s world subscribes too. And quite frankly, I’m pretty glad of that.

          • If Joker in the comics became a mirror of Nolan’s rendition, I would’ve stopped reading Batman right there.

            To me, the perfect adaptions of Joker are both fun and dark. Like Mark Hamill in “Batman Beyond: Return of The Joker” and John DiMaggio in “Batman: Under the Red Hood”. And yes, voice acting is as hard (if not harder) than voice acting. VAs deserve respect.

            • *as/if not harder than live action acting.

  11. Definitely looking forward to this show.

  12. This is gonna be awesome! I can’t wait!

  13. I LOVE Heath Ledgers performance as the Joker. That said, unlike many of you, I do not have selective memory. I remember full well how the entire internet agreed nobody was ever gonna top Jack. I wont say Ledger topped him, because they did not play the same character.

    Which brings me to my point. THE JOKER is bigger than any single performance. This is a 75 year old character with more incarnations, back stories, and re-imaginings than I can count. A good example would be the current re-re-definition of the Joker: A Death of the Family. Say what you want about the New 52, but THAT was a cool story.

    The sooner they bring out a new live action Joker of anykind the better IMO. Then all the Nolan fanboys can give it a rest and realize, the Joker did not die with Heath. The Joker is bigger than Ledger or his performance. 6 years is PLENTY of time to see another version of my all time favorite Comic Book character. The only thing I think they CANT do is try to do the SAME version of the Joker. THAT… would suck!

    • I agree 100%. Don’t get me wrong I loved Heath’s Joker, but to me that really wasn’t the Joker. Heath was the best part of that character not the character himself. I prefer Tim Burton’s Joker (minus the killing of the Waynes’ part). I want a Joker that is more comical and more bizarre with a twisted sense of humor. Heath’s Joker laughed, but it seemed more forced and like he didn’t like to actually laugh. I want a Joker who genuinely laughs as he brutally murders someone and delights in his crime. I want a Joker with actual bleached skin and green hair no matter how bizarre that seems because at the end of the day its still a comic book adaptation and it doesn’t have to be entirely realistic to still be dark and gritty.

      • “I prefer Tim Burton’s Joker (minus the killing of the Waynes’ part). I want a Joker that is more comical and more bizarre with a twisted sense of humor. Heath’s Joker laughed, but it seemed more forced and like he didn’t like to actually laugh. I want a Joker who genuinely laughs as he brutally murders someone and delights in his crime.”

        I’m sorry, but black sardonic humor seems to go over your head. What you really want is a joker with one liners.

        • Don’t insult me. I understood the appeal of Nolan’s Joker. I’m just saying it didn’t seem like the Joker of the Comics. I want something similar to Mark Hammil’s Joker, but more adult. No giant props and gag weapons, similar cheerful personality. That’s what always drew me to the Joker. The fact that he’s so happy and jovial while he commits horrible crimes.

  14. Now, all that said, I will also say this.

    This show is not the place for said new version. Having a Joker before you have a Batman is wrong. I like new slants and all, but I always found one of the key elements to Batman stories are how he INSPIRED all the crazy criminals. Not the other way around. The Joker coming into existence is a direct result of Batman existing.

    Also, to do a Joker story where he is not “The Joker” isnt a wise idea either. The Joker has no name but the Joker. Even in “The Killing Joke” which is referenced many times in this thread, he did not have a name in the back story. The whole “Jack Napier” story in Burtons Batman was his biggest mistake.

    This is all, of course, JMO.

  15. I agree that it seems weird to have a Joker before Batman. We will definitely have to see a lot of the man who becomes Joker before he actually is Joker. Regardless of his origin, failed comic turned red hood or just small time crook, he becomes Joker after the confrontation with Batman in the chemical plant. The chemical plant is almost always the origin (except in the Christopher Nolan version). So, what if he becomes Joker on Batman’s first night out? Bruce goes at in all black, maybe not even in a Batman costume, and tries to stop a crime early on. The criminals run through the chemical plant to escape, Bruce and criminal fight, criminal becomes Joker. Because the first night goes so bad: Bruce thinks he killed a guy and lets say he gets injured in the process, he doesn’t try to stop crime for at least another year or two. In the meantime Joker is now created and builds up his power in the crime world until in the series finale/last season Bruce is drawn out by the Joker’s increasing power and becomes Batman.

  16. I agree that Ledger gave a good performance, but wasn’t necessarily a faithful rendition of the Joker. Maybe if he had lost 20 lbs first I might have believed it more. But the problems went beyond the physical.

    3 letters make me nervous about all this: F, O, and X.

  17. Oh God, they’re going to turn Alfred into ex-ninja, aren’t they? Bloody hell, this is going to be a mess.

    • Ditto.

  18. Love what this guy did with The Mentalist. This show is definitely gonna be badass to the core.

  19. I would love for them to do Black Mask and for him to be running a small mob and eventually gain power of the city. I would also love to see a villain like Calendar Man who would fit more with the show due to the investigative nature of his crimes. Others that would be awesome: Hush, Dr. Hugo Strange, The Mad Hatter (the Arkham Asylum comic book version), Victor Zsasz, The Ventriloquist, Holiday, and Lock-Up.

  20. Have you even watched the trailer? It looks good to me. I don’t get all the comotion about the Joker. I almost wish they wouldn’t have said his name, because everyone’s so focused on only him. I think it’s an awesome idea for the Batman franchise. I liked Ledger too, but is that to say we will never see the Joker again? Come on guys,and girls. Technology is here. All we can do is hope it has a good plot, the acting looks good from the trailer, the whole city design does too. After watching season2 of Aarow, DC owns the TV world. And I’m a Marvel guy. Last thing about the ages, if Bruce is 10-12 years old, and let’s say the Riddler is like 25, then fast forward 10-15 years and you have a younger Batman vs a 35-40 year old Riddler. This is ALL fantasy BTW, you can’t have it both ways. That means some logic has to be thrown out. Period. Can’t Wait!