Posted by Stephen Patterson @mr_sjpatterson
Verified writer at Movie Pilot. Follow me on twitter: @mr_sjpatterson
Stephen Patterson

Warning: This article contains spoilers from FOX's Gotham.

It's been over two years since FOX's Gotham began airing and in that time the hit series has explored the earlier Batman mythology and introduced the world to some incredible performances of some of comic book's greatest characters. The show has also made a name for itself by deviating from the source material, suggesting that Gotham is less of a prequel and more of an alternative Batman universe, similar to the recent Batman Telltale game series.

One things about Gotham that most Batman fans can agree on is that Cameron Monaghan did a fantastic job as Jerome Valeska — the show's proto-type Joker. Jerome terroized the city for several episodes until the character met his untimely demise in the second season.

Fan of the show weren't too pleased when Jerome, who was one of Gotham's better creations, was written out of the show. However, all hope was not lost when DC character Hugo Strange was introduced to the show and began experimenting on dead bodies — one of who was believed to be red headed maniac. The second season finale then saw Strange's experiments escape into the wild and Jerome's maniacal laugh could be head, confirming that the character is still alive.

Our minds were put at ease when Gotham's executive producer John Stephens confirmed that we haven't seen the last of the character and that Monaghan would be reprising his role a little further down the line, perhaps in the fourth season should FOX commission the show again. Monaghan himself then took to social media to tease fans with his Joker laugh which only made us look forward to the characters' return more. However, the excitement reached peak level on social media when Monaghan allegedly took to Instagram today to post this picture — which he later deleted — and it confirms some pretty big suspicions about his character.

Jerome isn't dead after all. [Via Twitter]
Jerome isn't dead after all. [Via Twitter]

Monaghan recently wrapped production on the seventh season of the hit Showtime dramedy Shameless and there are rumors of him currently being in New York City — which is where Gotham shoots. This picture, which is clearly of Monaghan himself, is not only sinister but he appears to have scarring suggesting that when Jerome does return, he may be different than we remember him.

Jerome Is Coming Back Sooner Than We Thought

Jerome was killed in the the third episode of "Gotham" Season 2 [Via FOX]
Jerome was killed in the the third episode of "Gotham" Season 2 [Via FOX]

John Stephens confirmed that the third season of Gotham — which is currently airing — would focus heavily on building up the cult of Jerome. When the character died in Season 2, it became clear that Jerome had started an evolution, with many of the city's younger citizens seeing the deranged psychopath as a role model and carrying out criminal acts in his honor. The third season was set to develop this further — there have been"HAHAHA" signs spray painted on street walls suggesting that Jerome has left a lasting impact.

This mysterious new photo confirms that Jerome will be back much sooner than we expected. It's rather surprising considering Gotham has been doing a great job of building new storylines and focusing on the birth of other Batman villains like The Mad Hatter and Poison Ivy. Having said that, two of the season's major storylines have already culminated and we're not even at the mid-season finale yet.

Jerome was good at playing the act. [Via FOX]
Jerome was good at playing the act. [Via FOX]

Jerome will likely be re-introduced to Gotham when the show returns after its upcoming midseason break. With the culmination of the Mad Hatter storyline as well as the storyline involving Captain Barnes — which reached it's conclusion in the latest episodeGotham will need some new directions for Season 3 and who better than Gotham's own clown prince of crime? Also, with the Penguin's current mayoral run restoring order to the city, Jerome's arrival would cause chaos for the new mayor — setting up an awesome villainous rivalry. Moreover, since Shameless was filmed much earlier than usual this year this allows Monaghan to return to Gotham for an extended period this time around.

Need a Gotham refresher? Check out what's been happening lately:

Is Jerome Set To Become The Joker?

Jerome terrorized the citizens of "Gotham" [Via FOX]
Jerome terrorized the citizens of "Gotham" [Via FOX]

The Gotham execs denied that Jerome was Gotham's version of The Joker but I'm not buying that anymore. Monaghan was excellent in the role and even Gotham's biggest haters thought he did an excellent job — simply put, the producers won't find anyone better to play the laughing maniac that Monaghan. The Joker's origin story is one of mystique and open to interpretation and considering Gotham is building a reputation for crafting its own storylines and deviating from comic canon, there is no reason why Jerome shouldn't become the Joker.

However, I ask this question on more basis than just the argument above — look closer at the photo. There is clearly some sort of scarring on Monaghan's face and he's wearing a sadistic smile — one that doesn't look natural. Hugo Strange's experiments all escaped from the crooked doctor's asylum with some sort of physical or mental changes so perhaps Jerome has been physically altered to look more like his comic book counterpart. Make-up and prosthetics were clearly used to make that signature smile that Monaghan is sporting, so I think we can pretty much guarantee that Jerome is Gotham's version of The Joker.

Check out Monaghan in action as Jerome in this Gotham scene:

Jerome was arguably the best character that Gotham has created so his return was inevitable. The most startling fact about Monaghan's post is the fact that he has facial scars, meaning that Jerome might become the Joker a lot sooner than we thought. With Gotham continuing to explore the Batman mythology, it's only fair that the are readying themselves for the introduction of the one character who is arguably bigger than Batman himself. Maybe Jerome will have the last laugh after all.

Gotham airs Mondays on FOX. Are you glad that Cameron Monaghan will be playing The Joker on Gotham? Tell me in the comment section below.