Gotham began as a Batman prequel focusing on Jim Gordon and his adventures as a cop trying to make his way through the ruthless, corruption-riddled streets of Gotham City. For the delight of fans however, the show has slowly turned its attention into fully developing the young version of the Dark Knight, played by #DavidMazouz.
The Season 3 finale showed Bruce finally embracing his vigilante persona, standing on a rooftop watching over his city after stopping a mugging. But how is the show transitioning from that amateur, cloak-sporting vigilante into the confident crimefighter we all know and love from the comics in future seasons? We finally know.
Batman Is Coming... With A Twist
John Stephens, executive producer on Gotham, made an appearance on a panel during San Diego Comic-Con. During his chat, Stephens revealed that we should expect Bruce to get a pretty great costume upgrade in the near future, as the series moves into a loose adaptation of #FrankMiller's Year One storyline:
"He will wear body armor and grappling hooks, but he will not be Batman. It's a little more of a 'Batman: Year One' in a different setting. I'd say visually, when you look at what Bruce is going to be doing this season, it's gonna look far closer to what our conception of Batman is definitely gonna be."
For those of you uninitiated in DC mythology, Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli came together in 1987 to create #BatmanYearOne, a retelling of Batman's origin that's now become commonplace in pretty much every iteration of the superhero. The story saw Bruce Wayne return to Gotham City after years away, and explored the young man's gradual transformation into the Caped Crusader.
In that story, Bruce wasn't sure how to take on the bad guys when he returned home at first, even going as far as to put on a fake scar to pass as a thug. But he slowly built up to the classic #Batman costume. That visual transformation is most likely what Stephens is teasing, and it's a great way to go, because it shows a more human, trial-and-error side of the character who's looking for what's best for him as opposed to the gadget-laden detective we're used to seeing, the one who has it all together and figured out by now.
Yet, while words can't describe how exciting it is to know Bruce is slowly growing into Batman, I'm worried about how the costume will look. Stephens mentions Wayne's new suit will offer a pretty good idea of what the series is going with in terms of the billionaire's final heroic look, so I hope Gotham isn't ditching the hero's classic costume.
Crafting His Playboy Persona
#BruceWayne may be a lonely night owl, but he's an expert at pretending he enjoys the company of others. Throughout the years, Wayne learned to put on the perfect playboy act for the world to never suspect his night job. He acted like a rich bachelor only interested in meeting women and wasting away his vast fortune.
Gotham is taking a different approach to his story, though. According to Stephens, the series will show our young protagonist falling victim to his overwhelming power and money. That will be an uncomfortable experience, no doubt, but one that that will serve as reference for the future:
"You're also going to get to see him do very specific things, certain elements like when you watch Bruce Wayne acting like a playboy, we sort of ask the question, how did he learn to do that so well? Well, maybe there's a time that he wasn't pretending to be that. And we actually play with a little bit of Bruce having a teenage spiral, where he enjoys the elements of being a billionaire with no parents in Gotham, that he can draw from later on to become the fake playboy."
Going back to Year One, there's a scene where Bruce welcomes Jim and Barbara Gordon into Wayne Manor, and he's half naked with a woman. He acts carefree with the pair to make them believe he's just a shallow playboy. Once Jim leaves, however, Bruce dismisses his date and leaves to continue his brooding. That was an interesting sequence because it hinted at the fact that being a playboy wasn't in Bruce's nature. He simply saw how rotten the city was, and assumed it would be easier to hide under a personality everyone expected to see in a rich young man who just returned to his empire.
#Gotham's approach is darker, because it's exploring a deconstruction of the character. Bruce will spiral out of control after experiencing the death of his parents and being so hellbent on revenge. He'll pull himself apart psychologically, before picking up the pieces of his shattered psyche and assembling them to become the superhero we know he becomes.
While this is a considerable departure from the source material, it's a new exploration of a character who has already been explored in depth multiple times over. As I've said in the past, superhero stories –– especially now with such a saturated market –– are at their best when they're innovating and giving fans something fresh. Taking that into account, I'm looking forward to see what Gotham has to offer for our beloved Caped Crusader.
Gotham returns on September 28, 2017. While we wait, take a look at the SDCC trailer:
How do you feel about the new approach Gotham is taking with Batman? Let me know in the comments!