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Joker Confirmed for GOTHAM - Showrunner Discusses the Show's Visual Style and Villains

TV Gotham by Joey Paur

The upcoming Batman prequel Gotham looks like it's going to be an insanely good series. That first trailer that was released blew me away and got me incredibly excited to see it. In a recent interview with EW, Gotham showrunner Bruno Heller discussed the DC comics-based series, and he had some compelling things to say about the world they are creating. 

"This is a world that's going to become that familiar world of Batman, but it's not there yet. It's an embryo. A lot of the work was reverse engineering the story to look at what these characters were like when younger. Penguin, for instance, is not a powerful gang leader, he's a gofer for a gangster. It's about giving the world room to grow, but at the same time giving the fun and pleasure and drama of that heightened world. One of the great things about the Batman world is [the characters] have no super powers. Nobody flies or leaps over buildings. You start with psychology and that's where we build from."

He goes on to talk about preparing to develop the series, and the comic books that he read to get into the mindset,

"I read everything I could and then — I didn't throw it away, but I started fresh. I would hate to pick a particular Batman iteration because I would be dismissing others. But for me, The Killing Joke was one of the great ones in the comic books. Obviously the [Frank] Miller version [The Dark Knight], as well.

When it comes to the visual style for the series,  he seems confident in saying that he thinks it will be better than what was done in the previously released films. That's a bold statement, but it could be true.

"I would say in terms of what [director and executive producer Danny Cannon and director of photography David Stockton] are doing — visually — Gotham will surpass the Batman movies. The movies are a very rigorous, kind of Germanic take on that world. They're visually stunning, but not particularly visually pleasurable. I would say this is much more on the street level of Gotham. There's more people, it's a more colorful place, it's a more vivid place, it's more crowded. The inspiration for me and Danny was New York in the '70s, because we both remember that as a seminal moment, coming to the city for the first time."

He makes some great points, and I think they might actually be able to pull it off. Heller moves on to discuss the villains. Some of the villains that will be included in the show are Oswald Cobblepot, Selina Kyle, Edward Nigma, Poison Ivy, and more. I'm sure we'll see even more villains introduced including The Joker, which he confirms here,

"Obviously, the Penguin, Riddler, young Catwoman, Alfred. Possibly Harvey Dent. Poison Ivy. Um … and then there will be others, but I hate to — I’m so used to doing a police procedural, so I’m used to telling, 'Next week he’s going to go there.' With this, it’s very much storytelling. So I would be remiss to tell you who will show up when. I will say we’re not going to skimp on giving people the characters they want and expect from Gotham. But when and how they’re going to show up is half the fun. Penguin is one of those guys that, as soon as you see him, you go, 'Oh, that’s the Penguin.' It would be hard to disguise him as somebody else.

When asked about The Joker he said:

He's the crown jewel of the Batman villains. He will be brought in with great care and a lot of thought."

I'm really looking forward to seeing what they do with the Joker. He's one of the greatest comic villains ever, and it will be cool to see what they do with his backstory. When asked if  he was concerned about the story being limited because it’s a prequel he replied, 

"No. Because there’s lots of other people in the world, and one of the conceits of the show is, where did they get all their ideas? There's precursors to that for the villains and the heroes. They got inspiration from other people, and it's about how they got to that point in the world. It's invigorating and expansive how many stories you can tell once you get away from the gravity of Batman."

When talking about the characters Harvey Bullock and Jim Gordon he says,

"Harvey Bullock, for the comic book fans, he’s an iconic early Batman character. I always liked him just because he encapsulates the moral ambivalence and corrupt-but-fun quality of Gotham. He’s very much a Gotham figure. Gordon is a complicated figure, but he’s very much a good guy. He’s an old-fashioned American hero. So it’s important to pair him with someone who has a darker and funnier side, and someone who personifies that ambivalence of Gotham. And we got Donal Logue playing the character. As soon as we got him, I was able to write the character with much more edge and comedy and wisdom because Donal has all those things in spades. And frankly, I love double acts — buddies, whether it’s Laurel & Hardy or Starsky & Hutch or Holmes & Watson."

It looks like they are going to make a great on-screen team. Heller confirms that the series will end with Bruce Wayne putting on the cowl and officially becoming Batman. He then says that it won't happen for "six or seven years down the line. Hopefully."

Make sure to read the full interview over on EW, there's a lot of other great stuff that you might be interested to know. 

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