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

Published 7 months 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

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TAGS: gotham

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  1. so batman year one prequel except catwomen is created before batman.

    • I think he means the show will show what happened to Selina Kyle growing up that made her become Catwoman once she meets Batman. But I could be wrong.

  2. I was INTERESTED before. Now, I’m EXTREMELY interested. I look forward to seeing how this starts and plays out on screen…

    • I felt the same way now its another one booked on my schedule

  3. “Final episode of the series”?

    That could be one season or many seasons depending on ratings.

    This will be interesting to see how they treat the villains’ origins.

    They should make it cyclic in that somehow the Joker was responsible for Bruce’s parents’ demise.

    • Although it’s not a deal-breaker for me, such a storyline would seem unoriginal…too much like the 1989 “Batman”. I hope they go a different route…

    • I just hope they don’t drag it like they did for Superman in “Smallville”

  4. This sounds pretty interesting, except for a Joker origin. Batman is too relevant to Joker’s story to not be present when he becomes the joker. Now, if we just simply have an episode showing Gordon going undercover and interviewing a failed comedian who’s just trying to take care of his wife, THAT would be interesting.

    As for the other villains, the penguin makes the most since to have an origin story for. He’s one of the few Batman villains to be shown much older than Batman himself, and is usually already an arms dealer before Batman shows up. Everything about this show is sounding pretty cool, I like the direction they’re going. Other commenters have complained and said that Gordon isn’t interesting, and is nothing without Batman. I really hope this show portrays the character well and shows how great of a character Gordon actually is.

    • I’m glad you said that about the Joker! I can’t see that character being fleshed out without Batman. I always try and reserve judgments until I see something but I really think including a fully realized Joker would be a bad move, however I do like your idea of a failed comedian :)
      Also I think that too much young Bruce could be bad. I think I would prefer to have the Wayne family and the orphaned Bruce alluded to more often than outright shown.
      Obviously there are plenty of obscure villains to pull from the comics but I also hope they decide to include some original baddies, maybe a chance to show some street level thugs that slowly evolve and escalate their behavior with the continued corruption of Gotham. Start with smaller mobsters and the like until we get to the point where theatrical comic book villains are the norm and Gotham needs its true hero :)

      • All good points. I too agree that showing too much of a young Bruce Wayne would be a bad idea. An episode about the investigation of the Wayne murders is all I need, other than that the Wayne’s should just be mentioned every once and a while. Also, having original villains would be great.

        My failed comedian point was in reference to The Killing Joke, which fleshed out the joker’s origin story (albeit still having ambiguity about his childhood and not giving him an actual name). Seeing a miserable pre-Joker (in my opinion) would be really cool.

      • Before he was the Joker he was the red hood.. Depending on which bats continuity you look at. And that gang/group was active prior to batman arriving on the scene.. So this could also serve as a prequel of sort to the rise of the Joker. Personally would be wonderful if during the final season they show the rise of Bruce wayne to become batman and also throughout show to decent of the man who would become the Joker. The show shouldnt end with him dining the cape for the first time.. It should end with the creation/emergence of the Joker.

        • Jebus lots of typos my bad.

        • They cant really do the Joker though. The Joker was never truly born until Batman established himself, a point thats always brought up in the comics and other media is that Batman sort of made Gotham the mess that it is, sure he stopped the crime familes in the first year or two, but then his presence inspired people like the joker and now Gotham is full of psychos like Joker, Mad Hatter and Scarecrow. The point is the Joker only exists when theres a Batman.

  5. So basically what Smallville did for Superman. Hmm so they’ll spend a couple season bouncing between Gotham cop stuff and Bruce Wayne travelling and training around the world and such? Might feel pretty disconnected from each other. Bruce Wayne wasn’t exactly fighting crime in his teens (unlike superman apparently) but I’m sure they’ll tweak it. Yay love interests… Not.

    • Modern Bruce certainly wasn’t. However, Golden Age Bruce actually operated as Robin for a while as a teenager. While I don’t see them going this route, in the modern era Bruce is depicted as operating as a generic nameless vigilante before donning the full cape and cowl (usually right after he comes back from his training). I’d expect to see a young Bruce trying to be something of a mix between those two versions before deciding to go get training.

  6. Wonder about if they’ll explore the new stuff from the new 52 and the court of owls stuff. Would be interesting for the show to explore the most powerful families in gotham and how they all connect to the crime in gotham. You’d see it from the top down with a young bruce and bottom up with Gordon. Lots of potential.

    • That would be AWESOME! Opposite sides of the same coin…that would make for great storytelling, seperate events that effect/coincide with each other and have aftereffects down the line.

      • Exactly. Here’s hoping. Also for the first couple seasons until bruce comes into his own and starts to figure out his purpose in life etc.. Focus should be on Gordon and Alfred. Nobody ever talks of Alfred but he is more or less Bruce’s adopted dad, he is the single most important individual in the creation of batman. With one of the version of him being an ex sas agent with a lifetime of military and tactics behind him who took the Wayne job to be point man in their security detail.. I’d love to see him basically start moulding Bruce post parent’s murder into the batman we have all come to know. Weave it in organically. I Find the Alfred/Bruce dynamic has always been lacking as far as development even in the comics. Would only make sense for Afred to be the one that taught him how to observe people, be vigilant, use strategy etc and also be the one that help give Bruce a solid starting point to physical training. Part of it is perhaps that Alfred was paranoid Bruce would get hurt or should know how to defend himself, like an overprotective father would be in the years following the murder. Afred, being an ex too agent and world travel (if they use this interpretation) could also be a link to the places Bruce will travel to for various training, perhaps even the league of shadows.

        Anyways, So much potential for this show to evolve over several seasons, so much untapped & unexplored stories that could be done. Sure Batman is awesome.. But his actual journey to becoming Bats could be just/if not more interesting.

  7. Cue Alan Moore being super pissed at them for adapting the Killing Joke flashback storyline in some ridiculous way.

    • Moore being upset doesn’t bother me nearly as much as it might have before (and it was NEVER that big a deal to me)…Personally, I think the man could stand to add some fiber to his diet to loosen whatever became so tightly wedged up his butt years ago. This could simply be because I quite enjoyed both “Watchmen” and “V for Vendetta”… ;)

  8. This seems pretty cool. I hope they do it right, like they did with Arrow. And there`s no need to connect it with either Arrow or the Ben Affleck Batman. Gotham can stand on its own.

    Its good to be a superhero fan these days. Its just incredible how many new superhero movies and TV shows we`re getting:

    Movies – Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, Batman vs Superman, Sandman… not to mention Justice League, Avengers 3.

    TV Series – Gotham, The Flash, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Defenders miniseries, Constantine, new seasons for Arrow and Agents of SHIELD (hopefully improved).

    • forgot Agent Carter…

  9. So it will be like smallville? I’m ok with that, Smallville had it’s fair share of problems but had a couple good story arcs. Hopefully this is puled off in a smoother way.

  10. Sounds promising

  11. Feels like they wanted to make a Batman smallville but knew they couldn’t put Bruce as the protagonist. As much as I enjoy Arrow and am looking forward to the Flash show, I’m not huge on this idea. Of course I’ll still give it a fair shot, and hopefully it can impress me.

  12. How cool would it be to have a young Gordon get a call over the radio about a double homicide in crime alley to end season 1?

    • Nah that should be the pilot. Gordon’s first week at gotham pd.. Sees all the corruption, and to top it off the one couple that stood against it gets gunned down. Boom. Pilot end with him consoling a young bruce. They could use the killings and the sight of bruce alone the clincher as to why Gordon would become such a hard a$$ against cure option and crime and be willing to risk his life, so that something as simple as a child should never have to bury their parents in gotham again type deal.

  13. I hate it.

    Did you all forget that they’re rebooting Batman, Gordon, Gotham and the rest of the batman characters? Now we’re gonna have two of every kind of character?

    Is Two-Face the new president of Warner bros?

  14. As cool as this sounds, I think I would rather see the “Shadow of the Bat” series that Kevin Smith and Paul Dini pitched on Kevin’s Fatman on Batman podcast…it sounded pretty epic.

  15. Another smallville with a continuous lackluster season finales and lame season intro? No thanks!

    • Sorry, but season’s 2, 4-7, 9, and 10 of Smallville had pretty great finales.

  16. Since this is on fox I fully expect it to get cancelled in its first season.

  17. Sounds ominously like smallville. So how exactly are they gonna make the transition from young bruce wayne to batman. At least with smallville we had clark with powers, using them to protect people and learning to become superman. What’s young bruce gonna do? The story will probably skip a few years after parents are killed, showing bruce going to school/university for 5 seasons (boring) then for the last two seasons he grows up and learns to fight, invent gadgets, train under the league of asssassins until finally appearing in the batsuit, which like smallville they won’t show in its entirety. All in all they could squish it into a single season, making it less boring for us.

    • Also don’t the villians Riddler, Penguin, Joker and Cat Woman appear after bruce dons the suit and becomes batman.

      • It varies with each character. Yes, The Joker usually has his origin while Batman is in Gotham, but as for the others, Batman himself isn’t as relevant for their origins (with the exception of different interpretations of the characters. Batman Year One, for example, makes Batman the foundation of Catwoman’s origin, but not so much in other stories). As for the Penguin, he is usually shown to be a crime lord/arms dealer long before Bruce becomes Batman.

    • This is Gordon’s story, not Bruce Wayne’s.

  18. So is this more a villains origin story arch? Sounds like it, might be good but not a long life.

  19. Casey Affleck as young Bruce!

  20. This could work. I really want to see a good detective/cop Noir take on this series. I hope this show tackles the human elements first before it develops into the familiar elements we already know.It would be great to see some of the good villains that we already know; I just think it would be better if this show took its time leading to that. It wouldn’t be worth seeing the familiar elements in this show if it wasn’t worth waiting for it. I like Gotham and Gordon. I could stay invested long enough before seeing any of the villains as long as Gordon’s story is well written enough.

  21. Yeah Im kinda interested… why not?
    And they should call Affleck for the last episode.

  22. A smart decision. It sounds like the series itself will focus more on the rogues gallery, which could make for some genuinely interesting television. I have to wonder if we’ll have Blake Neely doing the score. He’s done well with Arrow but he was just as excellent on Bruno Heller’s The Mentalist.

  23. It is not related to the films or Batfleck in anyway. I read this on IGN earlier today:

    Reilly followed up by saying that this would be a serialized show that will function on its own, separate from the Warner Brothers DC cinematic universe. “We own all the rights. That’s what we’re licencing,” he said. “They brought us the entire franchise for a very healthy licence fee. We’re not negotiating this piece meal. We have all of the underlying Batman rights for the entire franchise for this series.”

    He continued, saying, “That’s what I like about this, it’s not some sort of adjunct companion series. This is the Batman franchise, just backing it up. I think that gives it a real focus as to what the show is about and what stories we’re telling.”

    There will be no connection to the Batman/Bruce Wayne that Ben Affleck will be introducing in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel 2, tentatively titled Batman vs. Superman. “Warner Brothers manages the entire franchise and its one of their top global franchises of all,” Reilly said. “So there will be an awareness of both and we’ll have to coordinate when we’re in the market place, but the productions are not piggy-backing off one another.”

    SOURCE: http://www.ign.com/articles/2014/01/13/foxs-gotham-is-a-batman-origin-story-and-will-have-a-christopher-nolan-esque-tone

    • Thanks for this. I was going to say that I didn’t see how a show on fox could be related to anything wb. Movies or arrow tv show. I wouldn’t think fox or wb would trust the other with the same cinematic universe.

  24. Any über Bat nerds should check out Kevin Smith’s “Fatman on Batman” podcast. On one of the newest episodes he and Paul Dini came up with an awesome pitch for an academy/high school Bruce Wayne that would tie into this series perfectly. Harvey Dent as a scholarship kid who eventually becomes Bruce’s roommate, Hugo Strange being the Headmaster, Ted Grant (a retired Wildcat) being a gym teacher who Bruce finds out his identity and blackmails Grant to be his first fight instructor. Complete nerd fest conversation by two guys that have written Bats!

  25. Great opportunity to have Tommy Elliot (Hush) as a secondary or even major character…. getting in trouble as a kid and Gordon trying to be there/cover for him, feeling sorry for Tommy knowing his home life is less than ideal. Then Bruce can be brought in as a friend of Tommy’s, more of a second or third tier character with the strategic interplay and mind games between Tommy and Bruce used as the catalyst for some episodes while leaving Gordon as a focal point dealing with the residual effects of their games.

  26. Will someone hurry up and cast Crispin Glover as The Joker.

  27. Although I can see where some people might really enjoy this, I am not sure it would be quite my cup of tea. I am more interested in the Bats vs Supes movie and JLA at the moment.

  28. Here we go again !!! Another DC series that’s gonna totally mess up the character . What is bruce gonna do ? Kill the joker, penguin and all the best villains before he puts the suit.

  29. Eh, I don’t like Joker existing before Batman (they said Joker, not Red Hood pre-Joker). He’s always existed because of Batman.

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