Whether or not Batman accidentally managed to make crime in Gotham City even worse than it was before he came along is an oft-debated question in comic book circles. With that in mind, Fox's upcoming prequel show Gotham could potentially clear Bruce Wayne's name a little by showing that Gotham City wasn't exactly the loveliest place to live even before he came along. Between gangsters like Fish Mooney, budding supervillains like Penguin and corrupt police officers like Jim Gordon's partner, Harvey Bullock, Gotham City certainly looks like quite a mess from what we've seen in the trailers for Gotham so far. Younger versions of Poison Ivy, Riddler and Catwoman will also appear in the pilot episode, and director Danny Cannon has said that he already has a great pitch for Mr Freeze's inclusion in the show.
Season 1 of Gotham may end up creaking under the weight of all its classic Batman villains, as two new additions to the cast have now been revealed. Speaking in an interview with IGN, Gotham's executive producer and showrunner Bruno Heller said that season 1 of the show will feature not just one but two high-profile troublemakers: Hugo Strange and Harvey Dent. Not only that, but Strange's involvement means that audience will get to see Arkham Asylum's background.
"Hugo Strange is going to pop up because we're going to start dealing with how Arkham was created and why Arkham was created in the way that it was so, yeah, absolutely. It's a season 1 thing because in our telling of it the way Arkham was created and the why and how is one of the causes of the particular criminal climate in Gotham that allowed Batman to happen. The revolving door of Arkham is both a brilliant narrative device because it allows you to -- you don't have to kill people off, you can just put them in cold storage -- but if you're telling the story from the start you kind of have to explain, 'What the f***? Why don't you make that place a place people don't escape from?' We're going to explain why it is the way it is and Hugo Strange is a big part of that."
Arkham Asylum got a pretty thorough exploration in Rocksteady Studios' 2009 video game Batman: Arkham Asylum, in which players take on the role of Batman and are forced to battle their way through the psychiatric hospital as Joker and the rest of its unhinged residents take over. It will be interesting to see whether Strange first appears as a staff member of Arkham Asylum or an inmate - though since this is a prequel, the former seems more likely.
Don't be surprised if Gotham remixes Strange's comic book origins, since Harvey Dent will be getting his own timeline reshuffled. Heller explains that, "We're playing Harvey Dent slightly older. He's more Gordon's age in this telling." In the comics, Harvey becomes district attorney in his mid-twenties, which would make him around the same age as Bruce Wayne in the show. If he's the same age as Jim then he may already have become DA well before Batman appeared on the scene, or perhaps he'll simply be a lowly paper-pusher at Gotham City Hall.
If these character reveals left you hungry for more information about Gotham, be sure to stay glued to Screen Rant this week as we bring you coverage of all the upcoming DC comics-based shows appearing at San Diego Comic-Con 2014, including The Flash and Constantine.
Gotham will premiere on Fox on Monday, September 22nd, 2014 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.