Gotham's Bane has been given a vastly reworked backstory that makes the iconic Batman villain a former colleague of Jim Gordon. Fox's Batman prequel series has often rewritten the origin stories of its evil-doers. For instance, Penguin was introduced as a low-ranking member of Fish Mooney's criminal gang, Ed Nygma began as an employee of the GCPD and Poison Ivy had her age accelerated before taking a stumble in an Asian potions shop and gaining plant-based superpowers.
It's only natural that Gotham would alter characters' origins to make them more relevant to a Batman prequel show, although the essence of each villain's backstory has largely remained the same as the source material. Penguin is still a dyed-in-the-wood gangster, Riddler a corrupted genius, Poison Ivy a mutated seductress and so forth.
However, Gotham's fifth and final season has, perhaps predictably, seen some of the biggest character revisions and the latest example comes within the show's iteration of Bane. Prior to the season 5 premiere, it was announced that Shane West would be joining the cast as Eduardo Dorrance, a man who would later go on to become the Man who Broke the Bat, and "Pena Dura" finally saw Dorrance debut, albeit not in a manner comic fans will be familiar with.
Bane's New Origin In Gotham Season 5
In traditional Batman lore, Bane is an escaped convict that has trained his body and mind to extraordinary levels, before venturing out and setting his sights on Gotham City and the Batman. Most versions of Bane depict him as dependent on a strength-enhancing drug called Venom and in some stories, he's merely a warrior working for some mystery figure behind the scenes.
Very few of these elements can be found in Bane's Gotham debut. Eduardo Dorrance is introduced as the leader of a special ops task force that has been sent into the city by Theresa Walker, the voice on Gordon's radio that promised help was coming back in the season 5 premiere. Dorrance and his men crash in to save Gordon and Bullock from a gang of arms dealers and, after clearing up the baddies, it soon becomes apparent that Gordon is familiar with Dorrance from his days in the military; the pair apparently served together and formed a brotherly bond of trust.
Gordon and Dorrance spend much of "Pena Dura" working together to track down Riddler and find out who was responsible for the bombing of Haven in episode 3, and the way in which the usually-suspicious Gordon relies on his former comrade is a clear signal of the faith he has in their friendship. In the episode's climax, however, it transpires that Walker and Dorrance were responsible for the Haven attack and have been remotely manipulating Riddler to keep the city on its knees. At this point, Batman fans wouldn't have guessed that Eduardo would ultimately become Bane, were it not for the shared surname and previous confirmation from the network.
What Bane's Connection To Jim Gordon Means
While it makes sense in the context of Gotham being a Jim Gordon-centric story, the idea of Gordon and Bane having pre-Batman history is one that fundamentally shakes the foundation of both characters. Although less radical, the military background is also largely uncharted territory for Bane.
There are, however, some similarities. Theresa Walker appears to be using Bane's expertise in a similar way to Talia Al Ghul in The Dark Knight Rises, although the exact nature of their relationship and intentions are unclear at present. Furthermore, it can be assumed that Walker and Dorrance were not only responsible for bombing Haven, but also for shooting down Bruce Wayne's supply helicopter, and it's also highly probable that Walker's men are the shady foes Gordon is seen fighting in the season premiere flashforward. This bears some resemblance to Bane's destabilization of Gotham City in the "Knightfall" comic book arc (which The Dark Knight Rises paired with "No Man's Land", the story Gotham season 5 is currently telling).
As Bane's role in Gotham expands, other facets of his backstory may become clear and this could present the show with an opportunity to work in more traditional elements of the character, such as the prison background (a stint following his time in the military, perhaps) and his use of Venom. Through all that, though, Eduardo Dorrance's personal connection to Jim Gordon will always represent a bold new Gotham addition to the character.
Gotham continues with "13 Stitches" February 14th on Fox.