FOX’s ‘Gotham’: Showrunner Talks Joker and Harvey Dent, ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Comparisons
We’re still not entirely certain what to make of FOX’s ‘Gotham,’ a new type of Batman origin story that highlights a young James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) at the center of the city’s growing costumed madness, but showrunner Bruno Heller would have you believe we’re about to see the best Batman yet, minus the Batman part. Plus, when might we see the likes of such Dark Knight staples as Harvey Dent and the Joker?
In a lengthy new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Heller opened up about the genesis of FOX’s ‘Gotham,’ including the ’70s New York design Heller believes to be superior to the films, as well as the expanded role for David Mazouz’s young Bruce Wayne, whom the former ‘Rome’ showrunner claims to be “without doubt, the best actor ever to play the part.” It’s all a bit unnerving to be honest, as Heller seemed to denigrate the idea that actual costumes and masks can make for a worthwhile drama (someone hasn’t been watching ‘Arrow‘), though when it comes to Batman’s most colorful foes, ‘Gotham’ isn’t shying away.
Not only does the pilot alone feature the likes of Oswald Cobblepot, Selina Kyle, Edward Nygma and even Poison Ivy (of a sort), but the first season will likely see the inclusion of Harvey Dent, even taking great care to adapt the Joker in future seasons:
He’s the crown jewel of the Batman villains. He will be brought in with great care and a lot of thought. [Heath Ledger's] was a wonderful performance and — apart from everything else — wonderful makeup. And we should try to live up to that. It will be a different character. It’s certainly going to be more Heath Ledger than Cesar Romero.
Early on, FOX’s ‘Gotham’ also drew a number of comparisons to Marvel’s ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,’ in that it alludes to the more interesting characters of a larger world, but instead focuses on the human element. Heller countered that ‘Gotham’ wouldn’t suggest that the “VIP” characters were in the next room away from sight, but rather that they don’t exist yet, and his job is to make the story as interesting as can be without leaning on the character of Batman.
There’s a lot of ground covered in the interview (which you can read in full HERE), including Bruce’s “unusual education,” the role of ex-marine Alfred (Sean Pertwee) and the “intensely visual and three-dimensional and layered and gritty and dirty and sexy and dangerous” take on Gotham City itself, but it at least seems that FOX’s ‘Gotham’ isn’t bowing to any one expectation. We’ll find out for ourselves when the series premieres this fall, but in the meantime, check out the trailer again below, and give us your thoughts on the newest Batman incarnation in the comments!