Fox’s Gotham TV series is nearly halfway through its first season at this point, and already the show – set during the years when Jim Gordan (Ben McKenzie) is a younger cop and Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) is in his early teens – has introduced a number of characters who, one day, will become important members of Batman’s rogues gallery. Interestingly, though, this week’s addition Harvey Dent (Nicholas D’Agosto) was one of the rare iconic comic book characters to debut since the show’s pilot aired.
There are plans for more future villains and/or famous Gothamites to be added to the mix, in some cases even before Gotham season one draws to a close. However, showrunner Bruno Heller explained in a recent interview that the way the series burst out of the gate – establishing so many iconic characters’ places in the Gotham show universe at once – and how it has since slowed down, in that regard, was very much part of a larger strategy.
Here was the explanation that Heller offered EW, for why Gotham started out the way it did:
“We front-loaded [the show with iconic characters], which we had to do, both for story purposes and marketing purposes. We had to let people know it’s not just a hum-drum police procedural, it’s about these larger than life characters. If you do that you can’t just say, ‘Here’s one larger-than-life character, now wait for next season.’ Once we introduced those initial characters—Penguin, Riddler, Ivy, Selina—then we’ve slowed down with those aspects and we’re bringing in those iconic D.C characters in a much more measured way, which was always the intention. You have to have that amount of spice in the show to make it pop and different. Once the wheels are turning, it’s much easier to bring those characters in in subtle, organic ways. That’s the plan, anyway.”
So far, Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) and Selina Kyle (Carmen Bicondova) are the two iconic non-heroes who’ve not only been the most organically incorporated into the larger Gotham narrative, but also the same ones who’ve been the most important in propelling the overarching story forward (Oswald more than Selina, admittedly). However, Gotham (arguably) has yet to establish a good reason for having introduced Edward Nygma (Corey Michael Smith) so early – beyond just to reveal who he was pre-Riddler, in this rendition of the Batman mythos.
Clare Foley as Ivy Pepper made a cameo in the Gotham pilot, and the future Poison Ivy will reappear in the season one fall finale, “LoveCraft”, next week; meanwhile, D’Agosto as Dent is on his way to becoming essential to the series’ procedural drama. Hopefully, that’s a sign that Heller and his fellow Gotham writers are starting to get a better hold on making new recurring characters more important right off the bat (and yes, established recurring players like Barbara (Erin Richards) still need improvement).
On that note – Heller also confirmed to EW that Gotham will indeed reveal “how Robin’s parents got together” – as McKenzie has indicated would happen – and he also jokingly referred to it as a “prenatal origin story for Robin,” given that it’s far too early in the show’s timeline for Dick Grayson to have been born just yet. Heller also reiterated that while he hopes to eventually add the Joker and Harley Quinn to the show’s character roster, they are “definitely planned for later on, but so far [nothing is definite].”
Gotham‘s season one fall finale, “LoveCraft”, airs next Monday on Fox @8pm.