Only months remain until Batman’s hometown will be brought to life on Fox, as Gotham looks to tell the origin story of some of the Dark Knight’s most famous villains – and most trusted allies. But there is one nemesis that rises above the rest, but fans looking for evidence of a Joker-in-the-making will be given more than one hint in the show’s first season. In fact, the showrunners apparently have several actors in line to keep fans guessing.

There’s no question that Batman is in possession of one of the more sizable and well-known gallery of enemies in comic books, with Gotham – despite not really being a show about Batman – bringing several of them to life in the show’s pilot. Penguin, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Riddler – even the Penguin’s mother has been added to the cast, without so much as a whisper about a new take on The Joker.

Understandably, one scene in the show’s first episode – set in the nightclub/cabaret of newly-created crime boss Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) – featuring a stand-up comic caught the attention of fans. With one of the Joker’s origin stories beginning with a failed career as a comedian, many connected the dots, and assumed that the actor in question (newcomer Jon Beavers) was in line to play the iconic villain.

But with a cameo so under-played – and showrunners clearly aware that fans would make the connection – many (ourselves included) assumed the showrunners were simply playing with their target audience. Now, it seems that is absolutely the case.

Showrunner Bruno Heller (Rome, The Mentalist) had previously confirmed that The Joker was part of the long-term plan for Gotham, but that it would be a “slow burn” and “carefully-built” reveal. In other words: the exact opposite of casting the role for the pilot episode.

That’s something viewers had better get used to, as BleedingCool reports that such teases are likely to appear on a weekly basis, with a variety of lesser-known actors parading through the proceedings, each posed as a potential Joker. Whether it’s the presence of playing cards, a flowery boutineer, or simply an ear-to-ear grin, the showrunners intend to play with expectations for as long as possible.

At this point, it’s nearly impossible to know exactly what type of spin on the character fans should be on the lookout for; not only have their been multiple versions of the ‘Clown Prince of Crime,’ but the tone of Gotham‘s universe – impossible to tell from one episode – will play a major role in how both he and his origin story are written. Heller has promised a “darker” version along the lines of Heath Ledger’s criminal mastermind, but a new design nonetheless.

“Absolute Joker” as drawn by artist Lee Bermejo

Fans will get their first chance to judge Beavers’ first version for themselves when the pilot episode is aired at Comic-Con, but for the time being, patience will be a useful virtue for eager Gotham fans.

What do you hope to see from a brand new take on Joker? Is a criminal who will grow into the maniacal monster over time an appealing spin, or would you hope to see a psychotic criminal who will need someone like Batman to bring his life purpose?

Gotham premieres on Fox on Monday, September 22nd, 2014 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce for updates on Gotham, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.

Source: Bleeding Cool