We still don’t have a clear read on what Fox and Mentalist creator Bruno Heller are up to with Gotham. It is still officially described as (via THR) “an origin tale centering on DC Comics fixture commissioner James Gordon (Southland‘s Ben McKenzie) and the villains that made Gotham famous.” However, Fox President Kevin Reilly’s loose lips described something that sounded closer to Smallville, with Bruce Wayne first appearing as a 12-year-old young boy and the series’ end point being the moment he first dons the signature cape and cowl. As such, it will be the twin narrative of Gordon’s ascension from rookie detective to police commissioner, and Wayne from brooding little kid to brooding young man composing heavy metal songs to illustrate his pain (that is, of course, if LEGO Movie is any indication).
If so, what’s their long-term plan for integrating Bruce Wayne into the story so that every time we cut back to him from whatever Gordon is up to doesn’t feel wholly unnecessary? Gordon investigating the murder of Wayne’s parents would only seem to be a short-term solution unless they posit a version of the story in which Gordon joins Alfred as a surrogate father figure for Bruce. This might end up feeling like the TV show version of X-Men: First Class, which began as two separate projects (X-Men prequel, Magneto prequel) which merged into one. That yielded mixed results there; what will it do for Gotham here? Plus, why is The Mentalist creator the person WB-TV picked to usher the world of Batman back into live-action television?
Either way, they’ve cast Gordon, his boss and fiance, Harvey Bullock, Alfred, and Penguin. Now, Jada Pinkett Smith has joined the cast as the Penguin’s boss. From THR:
“Pinkett Smith will play Fish Mooney, a sadistic gangster boss and nightclub owner who has the street smarts and almost extra-sensory abilities to read people like an open book. Imposing and hotheaded, she’s not one to be crossed. Mooney is the boss of Oswald Cobblepot — aka The Penguin (played by The Walking Dead alum Robin Lord Taylor) — who in Gotham is a low-level psychopath who hides his sadistic lust for power behind a polite demeanor.”
If you want to geek out on theories as to who exactly the hilariously, awfully named Fish Mooney (Fish? Penguins like those. Money? The Penguin loves that) is supposed to be (since there is no comic book precedent) check out EW. They theorize she could either be the big bad of season 1 or evolve into the comic book villain Great White or be full-on telepathic with no pure comic book counterpart.
The most notable, known role yet to be cast at this point is Bruce Wayne, although the Joker, Riddler, and Catwoman are all expected to join the series at some point. To check the rest of our coverage of Gotham, head here.
Here’s the last time a Batman-related comic book franchise made it to live-action TV: