One of the 2014’s most-anticipated shows, Gotham was a potentially risky prospect – with many fans wondering if Fox could pull-off a Gotham City show without Batman. However, premiere ratings were solid, and despite a few mixed feelings about certain aspects of the program, most Bat-lovers (and plenty of TV watchers) have embraced the series – at least for now. While series lead Ben McKenzie (James Gordon) and co-star Donal Logue (Harvey Bullock) are the primary features of the show – supporting players Robin Lord Taylor and Camren Bicondova, as Oswald “Penguin” Cobblepot and Selina “Cat” Kyle respectively, have quickly become fan-favorites.
Now that the foundation has been established, where is showrunner Bruno Heller going to take viewers next? We already know that the Joker is going to be teased (on multiple occasions) and that Two-Face could appear in the not-too-distant future but what else can audiences expect from season 1 of the series (and beyond)?
Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, Sean Pertwee (Alfred Pennyworth), Robin Lord Taylor, Erin Richards (Barbara Kean), and executive producer Danny Cannon took to the New York Comic-Con 2014 to share new details about what’s coming up on the show – as well as offer attendees a sneak peek at never-before-seen footage.
- Cannon states that it was essential they make their version of gotham. The villains emerge from that. The showrunners have the luxury of going back in time, which not many people have had.
- McKenzie believes that Gordon has a warrior’s mentality – and won’t give up to hopelessness but the walls are closing in around him. A moral force in an immoral land. Because he’s coming from a different mindset he makes mistakes – he trusts the wrong people, he saves people that come back to bite him. He’s headstrong – and is trying to make his way through it but he stumbles a lot.
- Logue says Bullock has been around for a long time and just wants to make it to the finish line alive and retire but Gordon brings something out in him – because while he’s seen guys like Gordon before, Gordon is the alpha version.
- Taylor says The Penguin’s ability to endear himself to other people and make them play-off each other is his super power. When he auditioned he didn’t know what the project was – it was a fake scene with fake names but he was tipped off the night before. He did his thing, it was one of the easiest auditions he’d ever done. He gives credit to Heller and Cannon for developing a great script – the character was beautifully drawn and it all comes together, with his costume and makeup, like stepping into the skin of The Penguin. It came about in a really natural way – the waddle is actually established in the pilot as an actual injury, so he can play that much more naturally too.
- Pertwee says Alfred is the protector of Master Bruce but that doesn’t mean that he has any sort of parenting skills – and that they get worse. So, as an actor, the hook is trying to find a way for the character to communicate with this troubled and young Bruce Wayne.
- Richards believes Barbara loves Jim very much and wants it work but it’s frustrating and painful that she senses something is happening with him. It’s normal relationship stuff but it’s heightened because it’s Gotham City.
- Cannon said mapping out the first season was a delight – because the Machiavellian world of Penguin was fun to play with (as was writing Gordon attempting to navigate through it). They sat down with DC to figure out which villains would work and which could fit within the timeline.
- McKenzie wants to be faithful to the mythology and the intent of the characters but not try to do an impression of Pat Hingle or Gary Oldman. He just works on the script and plays it through it as he sees it. Taylor said he watched Batman Returns and the Adam West series – and there’s no escaping Burgess Meredith and Danny DeVito’s iterations. But he wanted to bring the sheer fun they presented to his version of the character.
- Pertwee believes that the show is special because it explores the psychological element of the characters. Later he went back and watched Sir Michael Caine and other versions of Alfred and was pleased to see that his intertwined with the other ones – especially as “the common man” amidst this uncommon hero.
- Logue says he doesn’t feel encumbered by other versions of Bullock – and he won’t live up to them. He’s having fun creating his own iteration of the character and teases that Gordon has time to grow a mustache and Bullock has time to put on some weight.
- Richards read “Year One” and watched the Burton films but is enjoying using her character to bring out facets of the other characters. Barbara shows a different side of Gordon – when he’s at home and not in Detective mode. In Barbara she gets to play a strong and real female character – not just a shallow and one-dimensional girlfriend.
- McKenzie claims the cool thing about Gotham is that it starts out with Gordon making the morally right decision (not to kill Cobblepot) but in Gotham the right decision might be the wrong one – and Gordon is responsible for the creation of The Penguin.
- Taylor states that Gotham is Coblepot’s home and his entire identity and his ambitions are tied up in the city – for him to fulfill his dreams, he has to be there. Cannon says The Penguin’s rise to fame and power is the major focus of season 1 – and could lead to a face-off with his former boss, Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith).
- Pertwee asserts that Alfred is actually an enabler – their relationship is about learning to communicate and an intrinsic part of Bruce Wayne’s journey to don the cape and cowl. Cannon claims that this Alfred is badass and it becomes clear why he was hired by one of the richest men in the world to guard his son.
- Richards says that Renee Montoya (Victoria Cartagena) is one of Barbara’s deep dark secrets and viewers will learn more about that history in the coming weeks – and that it will affect her relationship with Gordon. She believes that Montoya is definitely trying to look out for Barbara’s best interest.
- Cannon says they are many seasons away from Bruce choosing the Bat. The show is about Gordon and the city – what’s hidden under Wayne Manor will be kept secret for a while longer.
- Responding to a question of whether or not Harley Quinn could appear, Cannon claims that he wants to see all of the villains but since some of them are Bruce’s age, not everyone can be included. McKenzie says that Gordon and Alfred both see something in Bruce and his potential to resurrect the city but the villains aren’t very aware of him (yet). They’re too busy fighting each other. Though, Selina Kyle and Bruce will begin interacting more – in the near future. Cannon outright states that episode 7 will feature Victor Zsasz and episode 9 will feature Harvey Dent.
- Cannon says that one man’s dump is another man’s paradise. They looked at vintage New York City and said – what if this place got worse instead of better? He claims the show isn’t set in a specific time (though it does happen in the past – more 80s and 90s than present). It’s an amalgamation of inspirations.
- Cannon believes that Nolan’s trilogy is a masterpiece – and it informed the creation of their Gotham. Nolan changed comic book movies for the better because the emotion and pain is real. However, the show is not connected to the films in any way.
- Responding to whether we’ll see The Court of Owls, Cannon says that if they get a season 2, there’s no end to what we might see. He also says not to think about the endpoint (Bruce becoming Batman). He asks viewers to “revel in the now” but teases that in episode 8, there’s a moment where Bruce says to Alfred “I’m angry all the time. Will that ever stop?” Alfred says, “I don’t know.” And Bruce asks, “Will you teach me to fight?”
- After being asked why Gordon wouldn’t see Bruce Wayne’s maturation and suspect he’s Batman, when that time arrives, McKenzie says that in this version of the story, it might not be much of a surprise to Gordon that Bruce Wayne becomes Batman because they have an established and deep bond.
We’re going to avoid spoilers for what exactly was shown during the panel – since it all comes from the episode that airs tomorrow, titled “Arkham.” Nevertheless, it’s clear that Gotham is picking up momentum. Now that the showrunners have successfully introduced their version of Gotham City, they have more room to actually explore the characters – especially The Penguin.
In the meantime, you can still check out last week’s teaser for “Arkham” below:
Gotham is currently airing Monday nights on Fox.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for any future updates on Gotham, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.