‘Gotham’ TV Series to Feature Classic Batman Villains & Young Bruce Wayne

Published 1 year ago by , Updated January 13th, 2014 at 10:10 pm,

Gotham TV Show Series Villains Joker Young Bruce Wayne Gotham TV Series to Feature Classic Batman Villains & Young Bruce Wayne

There’s been some confusion of what we’re getting with the upcoming TV series Gotham. In short answer that will be set in the DC Comics universe, in Gotham City, but the twist is it will be set during the childhood years of Bruce Wayne, before he becomes Batman, and it will instead center on James Gordon, a young cop arriving in the city, trying to enforce justice in a den of crime and corruption.

While that premise sounds like potential ground for a good Noir cop procedural, for some people this has been a cut-and-dry situation: no Batman means no interest. Now Warner Bros. is out trying to sell the idea of the show, and has “sweetened the pot,” so to speak, with new details that should appeal to Batman fans hoping on a more traditional take on the lore.

TV Guide tweeted live updates from TCA, where Fox Chairman Kevin Reilly provided the following major Gotham updates:

So there it is: more Batman elements than some may have initially figured they would get. Additional quotes put Bruce Wayne’s age at 12, and the villains mentioned being approached origin-style, so that we get to know how they got to be the psychos or crooks they are.

In all honesty, the focus of Gotham has been unclear thus far; will it be more like the Gotham Central comic book that was a cult-favorite? Will it be more like the gritty Year One Gordon stories by Frank Miller and Jeph Loeb? Or will it – as the title implies – be more of a sandbox world where we follow multiple characters down interweaving narrative threads? Reilly was also quoted by Deadline as saying, “It is an operatic soap with a larger than life quality,” which is a description that is sure to irk fans who worried about seeing the word “soap opera” appear in the context of a Batman TV show.

Arrow TV series Cast Gotham TV Series to Feature Classic Batman Villains & Young Bruce Wayne

However, to be fair, Arrow - WB’s successful superhero series – could be described as an operatic soap with a larger than life quality, as it utilizes a wide berth of characters and soap-style scene progression to tell the saga of Starling City and its hooded protector – especially in its first season. While the start may have been bumpy (read: too soapy), when Arrow did finally find its balance, we were left with a pool of characters that were interesting and well-developed and helped flesh-out the world we were getting to know quicker than a single protagonist ever could.

In the case of Gotham, having time split between Jim Gordon, a young Bruce Wayne, other auxiliary characters in the Gotham P.D. (Harvey Bullock FTW!) or even characters who eventually evolve into some of the city’s most notorious villains? Well that would definitely fill the narrative and character demands of such a large-scale project – not to mention that it fits in step with the blueprint already set forth by Arrow. Don’t be surprised if Gotham is truly about the city, rather than just one particular inhabitant.

Young Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins Gotham TV Series to Feature Classic Batman Villains & Young Bruce Wayne

Young Bruce Wayne in ‘Batman Begins’

Lingering questions include WHEN this show will be set – and closely related to that, it’s relation to the film universe. Batman vs. Superman will introduce the DC shared universe Batman (Ben Affleck) – but is Gotham his childhood story? If the answer is yes, then the time stamp would be the 1980s, in order to put modern-day BatAffleck in his 40s. Given the limitations of TV budgets and the already ambitious scope of Gothama separate TV continuity and modern-day Batman origin story seem more likely. If THAT is the case, there’s also the question of how Gotham relates to Arrow and/or the upcoming Flash TV show, in terms of continuity… but I digress.

On a personal note: while I never really dug Frank Miller and Jim Lee’s All-Star Batman & Robin comic, I did like that version of The Joker (a tough-guy sociopathic serial killer) and think that the Crown Prince of Crime in his early, unrefined, rough-around-the-edges days would be something to see. (Of course that forces one to ignore the Red Hood origin of the villain…)

I’ve mentioned on our latest podcast about Gotham that series pilot director Danny Cannon made Dark Blue, one of my favorite police shows of the last few years. Creatively this project feels like it’s in good hands, it has a proven blueprint to work from (thanks Arrow!) - let’s hope casting is impeccable, and we might have a quality no-Batman, Batman show on our hands.


Gotham is in development and will air on Fox.

Sources: Deadline & TV Guide

Follow Kofi Outlaw on Twitter @ppnkof
TAGS: Gotham
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  1. I’m just spitballin’ here but they should include characters such as Hush, who was a friend of Bruce when they were kids, some kind of allusion to the Justice Society of America and even Ras al Ghul.

  2. I also feel that this show should focus on the lesser known villains of Gotham such as Victor Zsasz, Carmine Falcone, Joe Chill and Lew Moxon instead of the mainstream and overused ones.

  3. The Gotham series can prequel the “Batman Begins” story line by having the younger Ra’s al Ghul’s League Of Shadows destroying Gotham’s economy. They can use their influence on the stock market (as in Dark Knight Rises), banks, industry, and politics. Gotham can be deteriorated much the same way as the city of Detroit has in real life. This would result in massive unemployment, political corruption, and uncontrollable crime. All the characters in the Batman universe can be created in this universe. The series needs to be set in a very dark tone and not watered down to be successfull. It would be very entertaining to watch if it is done right.

  4. Sounds like Smallville totally. Not to mention, they also chose the name by the city just like they did with Smallville.

  5. Honestly, I have no idea why they beat around the bush so much. I think this show has great potential, but why not make a show based around young Bruce Wayne on his travels around the world and under the tutelage of all those who help become Batman? If they really wanna get everyone’s attention and get the fans’ panties dripping, at the very least move between Gordon and Bruce Wayne on his travels throughout the show.

    I don’t know why WB is having such a hard time getting their sh*t together. So much lost potential.

    • @Hugo:

      I think they wanted to do a cops/procedural crime-type show with familiar characters. Something like NYPD Blues and CSI but with James Gordon as the lead.

      I like the idea because it allows them to be fresh and explore the Batman mythos without really delving into Batman specifically.

      They can always change it to explore the young Bruce (Batman Year -10) but I think it’s okay that they concentrate on the “other” characters.

      • Definitely, I agree they should explore all of the DC Universe. There are plenty of awesome characters that people should get the spotlight. But what I’m saying is, is that they shouldn’t let great opportunities slip through their fingers.

        I mean, let’s look at Arrow: great friggin’ show and a huge leg-up from Smallville, but this whole isolated “realistic” environment is b******* because then that’s all we’re gonna get (unless they change their minds). Like the ambiance, I think, doesn’t seem to leave space for the supers. All we really saw was Barry getting struck and Grundy showing Bane (Dark Knight Rises) strength, which isn’t a lot to go on in this case.

        I feel they should just sync everything so at any given moment they can cross-over their characters.

        It kinda pissed me off the way they dropped the ball with Man of Steel. They easily could’ve gone with Superman: Birthright story and made history, or at the very least a sort of Superman: Earth One deal.

  6. I love the concept but I just hope it will be interesting enough to keep me reeled in throughout the season. I just don’t want it to end up being another cop series. I doubt that it will but you never know with WB

  7. So, you all don’t know me but I’m not a comic book reader. Any comic book knowledge I primarily get from reading something on this site then googling it. Anyways, y’all keep talking about joker’s “red hood” origin that I know nothing about. In my mind I was crossing red good with red arrow. So I was thinking, holy cow is the red arrow story line in arrow showing the origin of joker?! Now that would be crazy.

  8. Sounds like smallville.

  9. This may be to dark for some fans and even for Fox but what if they treated this like a TV version on Se7en?

    Just go all out from the start and show Gotham as the most unforgiving city already full of the most corrupt and disturbing collection of villains without even a glimmer of hope.
    Like someone mentioned in a comment above have the end of the pilot feature the death of The Wayne’s, Gordon’s first and what will end up being his most important case.

    How else could you portray a city that will give berth to the likes of The Penguin, Riddler and eventually The Joker?
    Make Starling City from Arrow seem like Beverly Hills compared to Gotham.

  10. Well, if this concept actually does make it to television & should prove successful, hopefully when it finally makes it to that last episode where Bruce Wayne dons the cowl it’ll be a better payoff than fans received after 10 years with the $hitty episode for the series finale of Smallville.

  11. I think this show will do good if they show villains origins and don’t make people think they will see batman on the show.

  12. I think the best way to figure in young bruce wayne would be to accoshiate Bruces parents with James Gordon… this should be the reason they are murdered and Bruce becomes Batman!!! Maybe as far as the joker goes, he can be a cross between Jack Nickolson and Heath Ledger’s jokers, First Robbing banks and finnaly killing Bruces Parents because they get too close to the truth!!! As far as all the other villons, that will be interesting!!!!

  13. this seems like another smallvile type thing, one big tease. I think super hero shows should take a cue from arrow and just come out swinging. All this prequel stuff are no fun. :(