Gotham Creator Discusses The Joker's Origins
Fans hoping to see Gotham tell the tale of Batman's arch-enemy might have to wait a while...
Channel 5's new TV show Gotham might look like it focuses on heroic young detective Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) - but there are other origin tales to be told. Specifically, the show will concentrate on how the villains of one of fiction's most famous cites came to be.
And as far as bad guys go, there's none more notorious or interesting than Batman's ultimate foe - The Joker.
But show creator Bruno Heller has hinted that fans will have to wait a while before the crazy criminal pops up on the small screen.
"The Joker didn't think of his shtick all by himself," he told Digital Spy. "There must have been someone before who The Joker saw and thought, 'Oh, that's a good shtick. I could work with that and make it better.' It's the same with Batman. There must have been other vigilantes before him who didn't pull off such a good act. We'll play around with those ideas in Gotham.
"We're going to wait and get the show up and running. We want to get the story right and we want to be tonally right - and then we'll start thinking about how to bring him in. We will certainly try to surprise people, and maybe even trick people.
"It's one of those expectations that everyone will be waiting for, so you can't just present the guy with a big smile and start telling the story. Not that that would be dull, but that's one of those opportunities to really start playing with this.
"There are certain villains that can and do precede Batman," he added. "There are others that don't, and we'll play with that. Generally speaking, we won't go to the full theatrical, spandex costume aspect of the villains - the fully-fledged villains - because it's almost not consistent with this world."
Heller also confirmed that DC Comics' iconic hero won't be seen in the show… at least, not quite yet.
"Human beings are diminished as soon as a superhero walks onto the screen," he explained. "As soon as the superhero walks out of frame, you're waiting for them to come back. Our show is a little different because we have Jim Gordon as the moral centre.
"My 12-year-old son suggested Commissioner Gordon as a decent character without super powers to write the show around and that got me thinking, 'What if Gordon was the cop that originally investigated the Wayne murders?'
"This gave us a starting point and allowed us to tell the saga from a much earlier point than before, without ever having to get into a cape and cowl - and without having to worry about super powers.
But of course Batman's alter ego, the young Bruce Wayne, will appear. And though he might be a child, his story certainly won't be sweetness and light.
"We start with a child, but how did he end up as Batman?" Heller teased. "Things change - that's the beauty of TV - but that's the natural arc of the show and that's where I would like to see it end because essentially that's the story."
Gotham comes to Channel 5 in October.