Gotham hasn't been shy about introducing some of Batman's most recognizable villains — we've gotten the chance to meet antagonists like Mr. Freeze, The Riddler, The Penguin and Scarecrow. Even though each one of them has been changed in different ways to fit the prequel's narrative, they are quite clearly direct adaptations of the comic book characters.
However, there's one baddie who hasn't been as easy to place: The Joker. For the longest time, we've believed that Jerome Valeska, played by #CameronMonaghan, was Gotham's version of the Clown Prince of Crime.
Despite the lack of the signature white skin and green hair, his laugh, mannerisms, inappropriate humor and penchant for violence seemed to be dead giveaways for his real identity. He even became young #BruceWayne's nemesis.
But, as it turns out — in what's sure to disappoint hardcore Jerome fans — we shouldn't expect the guy to sport the purple tuxedo and acid flower any time soon ... or ever.
Sorry 'Gotham' Fans: Jerome Isn't Becoming The Joker, Executive Producer Says
Bryan Wynbrandt, an executive producer on Gotham, sat down for an interview with Comicbook.com at #NYCC2017. During their conversation, the producer revealed that Jerome isn't meant to be the considered the true Joker:
"Obviously Jerome is our homage. He's obviously not the Joker himself, although [he] clearly seems to be the impetus that eventually creates the Joker. The more that we see him, the more he carves out his own path I'd say. I wouldn't say he becomes more the Joker, but the Jerome character continues to evolve."
Sadly, it doesn't look like that evolution will lead where fans had hoped. Later on during the interview, Wynbrandt clarified that the minds behind Gotham weren't too keen on having Joker appear in the series because of his enormous legacy:
"This is a show about origin. Last year we paid homage to one of our favorite Batman stories, 'The Killing Joke.' I think there's definitely stuff within the canon that we as a room are more willing to be nimble with and more willing to go a different direction than the cannon. For instance, the Penguin/Nygma love story. When it comes to Joker, he's so iconic to that Batman character that it feels like we don't want to get to Joker ever. Jerome feels like he is that origin of that."
Some fans may feel that Jerome never transforming into #TheJoker — but somehow being an "impetus" for the Joker — does a disservice to the character. If Bruce Wayne can grow into Batman on the show, as he's started jumping on rooftops while beating up criminals left and right, why can't we see the Joker's origin fully completed?
In A Way, Is This A Good Sign For The Show?
I know, I know, but take your pitchforks down for a second and hear me out. After all, what's so special about Jerome is his uniqueness. There has never been anyone quite like him in Gotham's colorful underworld.
Gotham has been rather quick with introducing characters who normally wouldn't exist until a few years into Batman's crime-fighting career. The Joker entering the story when Bruce Wayne is still a teenager just doesn't feel quite right. It's probably best for Gotham to let go of the Joker — at least for now, while Bruce is still growing into his own and Jerome is still becoming a fascinating character in his own right.
But hey, who knows? Perhaps if the show goes on long enough, we'll get to see the baddie make his presence felt at some point.
How do you feel about Jerome not becoming Gotham's official Joker? Let me know in the comments!