Batman is widely considered to have the best rogues gallery of all the superheroes out there. Many television shows, films, and video games have been created around the tales of Batman against his many foes. Some are iconic like The Joker, The Riddler, and Catwoman; others are less famous, yet still intriguing.
In 2014, Gotham began airing on FOX. It told the story of a young James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) during his time with Gotham PD. Characters like Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle were just children, meaning this show worked as an origin story for many of the critical pieces of Batman lore.
The final episode has aired and Gotham covered most of Batman's villains. Still, some were left out and we've chosen ten that we really wanted to see.
Clock King originally started as a villain for fellow DC Comics vigilante Green Arrow. In fact, he appeared on both CW shows Arrow and The Flash. However, his only TV appearance against Batman came during the campy 1960s series starring the late Adam West.
There are plenty of different incarnations of the Clock King, but the DC Rebirth relaunch version would have worked best on Gotham. He was a drug dealer with a clock tattoo who claimed he could predict every move Batman made, only to get taken down by Catwoman. Pitting him against the young Bruce Wayne and having Selina Kyle save him would've added a great wrinkle to their relationship in the early stages.
The Arkham Knight isn't exactly a villain with a ton of history. Rocksteady Studios initially created him for the 2015 game Batman: Arkham Knight. This character harbored a personal grudge with Batman and set out to make him suffer before killing him. Though made for the game, the Arkham Knight has appeared in comics since.
In the game, it is revealed that the Arkham Knight is Jason Todd, the former Robin. Batman believed Joker killed him, but in reality, Joker locked him up and broke his sanity. Once he found out that a new Robin was replacing him, Todd broke. Gotham couldn't go there yet because, with no Batman, there was no Robin. However, the comics have gone different routes with the character's backstory so that the show could've done the same.
Not all villains need to be serious or life-threatening for Batman. Comic relief is a real thing that a series like Gotham could've used more often. That's where someone like the Condiment King comes into play. Some variations have included the alter ego being a comedian literally named Mitchell Mayo. He's known to use condiments that can cause an anaphylactic shock as weapons.
It was the ridiculous nature of this character that kept him out of Gotham. Producer John Stephens admitted he wanted to include the Condiment King, but the idea got rejected because he was too silly.
Killer Croc is hard to pull off from a visual standpoint. A sideshow wrestler with a condition that makes him look like a crocodile. Along with enhanced strength, he also benefits from accelerated healing, increased stamina, and reptilian teeth and claws.
2016's Suicide Squad showed you could nail the look of the character. Gotham wouldn't have had the same budget, but they could have found clever ways around it. Never showing his full figure and giving us teases of how menacing he could be certainly could have carried an episode or two.
Ra's al Ghul is one of the most formidable foes in DC Comics history. In live action media, he's appeared in Batman Begins, Arrow, and Gotham. He has two daughters who are also vital members of Batman's world, Nyssa and Talia. Ra's and Nyssa made it onto the show, but Talia was surprisingly absent.
Talia al Ghul, as seen in The Dark Knight Rises, has been known for her romantic relationship with Bruce Wayne. When looking at Wayne's age in the series, a bit of young love would've opened a spot for Talia to get involved. It could've rubbed Selina the wrong way and added another dimension to the lessons Bruce must learn before donning the cape.
For a lot of people, the idea of Man-Bat is a tough sell. He sounds like the opposite of Batman but has worked well in storylines for Batman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Batman: Arkham Knight and more. Zoologist Dr. Kirk Langstrom attempted to give humans a bat's sonar sense but his serum also hideously transformed him into a hybrid of the two species.
Interestingly, Man-Bat kind of appears in season four of Gotham. While two junkies search a church, a creature drops down and reveals bat wings while shrieking. The plan was for the character to be a part of season five and help inspire Bruce's use of a bat image. He got cut from production due to a lesser episode count than expected.
It's quite shocking to learn that Deadshot was never part of Gotham. Known as a deadly sniper who boasts that he has never missed a shot, Floyd Lawton is grounded enough to fit into the show's gritty world. He worked out well enough during a stint on Arrow.
One of the benefits of bringing Deadshot into play is that it opens the door for the Suicide Squad. The character is regularly associated with the group, which would have meant even more new villains for the series. Crucially, this character is often portrayed as an anti-hero, so Gotham could have played around with Deadshot's depiction. A reluctant partnership with Gordon sounded interesting.
Speaking of characters who appeared in other DC properties, we have Slade Wilson, also known as Deathstroke. On Arrow, he was one of the best antagonists ever put on superhero television. Having also appeared in Smallville and Batman: Arkham Origins, it's clear he works in media outside of comics.
In that Batman: Arkham Origins game, most fans considered the boss fight against Deathstroke to be a highlight. He had the potential to steal the show in Gotham. Deathstroke is a fierce fighter, master marksman, and brilliant tactician who would have given Gordon problems from a physical and mental standpoint.
One of the most popular Batman stories is Batman: The Long Halloween. In it, Batman gets haunted by an enemy who murders someone on every holiday. It worked as a reintroduction of the Calendar Man character and marked his most notable appearance.
This is the kind of thing that is tailor-made for a television series. Replace Batman's role in the story with Gordon. Gotham could've played this out throughout a season, with each holiday murder being something of a special episode. While Calendar Man may not be at the top of the list in terms of Batman villains, he ranks as one of this show's most significant missed opportunities.
The lack of Two-Face in Gotham is a big point of contention for many fans. Harvey Dent, played by Nicholas D'Agosto, appeared in the first season and even has an episode named after him. He stuck around for a few seasons and showed off both an aggressive and a compassionate side. Sadly, we never got to see Dent turn into Two-Face.
Showrunner John Stephens explained that their hands were tied by the fact that Dent only becomes Two-Face after Batman is already on the scene. However, this could've been reworked with the focus being on the relationship between Dent and Gordon, making for some high-quality police drama.