Since the series first aired, Gotham has divided comic book fans with its willingness to introduce some of the most recognizable Batman characters so early in its run. Forcing Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) to compete with so many famous faces, so quickly - in a show ostensibly not about Batman - turned off some viewers, while elating those simply wishing to see their favorite DC villains on a week-to-week basis.
Now, we can add one more classic Batman villain to the list, as executive producer Bruno Heller has confirmed that the odd criminal known as the Red Hood will be coming to the show in its first season. Exactly what version of the character, or what the long term plan for him will be is still unknown - but we've got some predictions.
Heller has already addressed the criticism over the surplus of famous comic book villains, claiming the move was made to differentiate Gotham from other police procedurals (and that the show's success will allow for a more subtle approach down the road). But with Jim Gordon's story leading him into Akham Asylum, the home of some of Gotham's most... colorful characters, it seemed that more villain cameos and reveals were in the cards, not fewer.
When speaking with CBR, Heller explained his view on the need for costumes (or lack thereof) and whether fans should expect to see Gordon's foes adopt their comic book wardrobes any time soon:
"That's a good question. Especially now that we have a pick up, I always take a long-term view of a show. I'm looking at several years. So we're in no hurry to [do that] -- there's going to be an episode that involves the Red Hood, which picks up that strand, the costume strand, and sort of gives a kind of philosophical base, if that's not too pretentious a word. Why costumes? What's the power of costumes? What's the power of a mask? All of that groundwork will be laid sort of culturally for that side of the DC Universe before we start rolling into the more spectacular spandex type of deal.
"We're never going to be a full-on costume drama. We're going to be a full-on character drama. Like Batman, there's the super powers, super will, and there's super strength, but only on a human level. Not on a supernatural level. It's very important, again, for the longevity of the show, that we take this step by step."
The mere mention of the Red Hood is sure to send some Batman fans into a frenzy, since the most well-known version of the classic villain was retconned in Alan Moore's "The Killing Joke" to be the future Joker in disguise. In the modern era, the title has been granted to Jason Todd (the former Robin); although the Flying Graysons will be coming to Gotham soon, the presence of any Robin is still decades away.
The most likely appearance of Gotham's Red Hood will be along the lines of Scott Snyder's reinvention in the recent "Batman: Zero Year" storyline. In Snyder's new origin, the Red Hood Gang is a group of nameless, faceless criminals all serving a similarly-mysterious crime boss (sporting the traditional helmet). The modern spin seems to fall more in line with Gotham's growing unrest, and everyday criminals deciding to adopt eccentric methods or appearances.
If the Red Hood Gang really is in the cards, it could prove a strong premise for an episode, or even multi-episode arc. In "Zero Year" the gang targeted Bruce Wayne directly, but any criminal group that is both odd and organized could challenge Jim Gordin in ways he has yet to face. But no word yet on what role the villain will play, or for how long a term.
What do you think of Heller's view of costumed villains? Is it missing an opportunity to bring even more beloved elements of Batman mythology to life, or is it best to keep some aces up the showrunners' sleeves? Sound off in the comments.
Gotham airs Mondays @8pm on Fox.
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