The Epix drama series Pennyworth has officially cast Jack Bannon as a younger version of the man who goes on to become Bruce Wayne and Batman's faithful butler, Alfred Pennyworth. Gotham creator Bruno Heller and producer/director Danny Cannon are working on the series and are gearing up to begin production this month. However, the show is neither a canon prequel to the duo's Gotham TV series nor directly connected to any other previous take on the Batman mythology.
Pennyworth will follow Alfred as he goes from being "a boyishly handsome, cheerful, charming, clever young man from London" to becoming a British SAS soldier in his 20s and forming a security company with then-young billionaire Thomas Wayne in the 1960s. While the character will eventually evolve into being more of a militant warrior who resembles the older Alfred played by Sean Pertwee on Gotham, Bannon's iteration on Pennyworth will start out struggling with how to "reconcile the kind-hearted boy he used to be with the cold, calculated killer he was forced to become" (per his official description).
Epix has now confirmed that Bannon will play Alfred in Pennyworth and further announced that production on the first episode will begin next Monday, October 22 at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden in the UK. The first season will be comprised of ten episodes (each an hour long) and premiere next year at a yet-to-be-announced date.
Heller and Cannon have already become (in)famous for their radical re-imagining of a pre-Batman Gotham City on the Gotham TV show. The FOX series, which will enter its fifth and final season next year, has made similarly dramatic changes to the relationship between Bruce and Alfred by portraying the latter as being far more of an instructor and hands-on accomplice to Bruce (and his ambitions of becoming a full-blown vigilante) than previous versions. While, again, Pennyworth isn't a full-on prequel to Gotham, it sounds like the show is taking equally big creative liberties with Alfred's backstory and his relationship with the Waynes (Thomas, specifically), before Bruce was even born.
In the event that those "creative liberties" are mostly well-received fans, Pennyworth could go on to become a breakout project for its young star. Bannon played a key supporting role in the Oscar-winning Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game and has appeared on TV series like Endeavour, but is otherwise something of an unknown and has the chance to make a real name for himself here. Much like David Mazouz has come into his own as an actor by playing young Bruce Wayne on Gotham, Bannon may yet prove his own mettle by bringing young Alfred to life.
Pennyworth will premiere on Epix sometime in 2019.