September 21st, 2015, Gotham returns to television for its sophomore season and it's already brandishing the tagline: Rise of the Villains.
Last season, we saw quite a few different takes on the origins and backstories of various characters from Bat-lore as they weaved in-and-out of the show like it was the revolving door at Shrek's department store (subscribe if you caught the reference). In season one alone, we got a hint of Bane, some red herrings in regards to who was going to wind up being The Joker (it turned out to be Cameron Monaghan of Shameless fame), and were introduced to Harvey Bullock, Harvey Dent, Oswald Cobblepot, Edward Nygma, Selina Kyle, Ivy Pepper (soon-to-be Pamela Isley), and - naturally - Bruce Wayne.
In season two, promotional materials have surfaced that clearly indicate that future-Commissioner James Gordon is going to have his hands full this go-around dealing with Tigress and her nefarious brother Theo, a gender-swapped version of Firefly, batshit-crazy (pun-intended) Barbara, and Jerome (Monaghan) jumping on the crazy train as only a junior Joker can! If you haven't seen the latest trailer, check it out below!
Season 2 will introduce a few characters - much like Fish Mooney and Butch - created specifically for the show. But if there is one thing we've learned from Gotham, it's that anything can happen and anyone can show up randomly and either stick around (ala Dent, Jerome, Butch) or exit stage-left with a nudge and a wink to the hardcore Batman fan viewing at home (ala the Flying Grayson's).
With that in mind, we take a look at ten characters - which also includes our titular comic queen Harley Quinn - that could wind up making an appearance in Gotham City this season or the seasons that will inevitably follow. Just for good measure, we're also going to do a bit of fan-casting and suggest possible scenarios for their inclusion in the series. Please, bear in mind, I'm not suggesting that all of these characters become regulars - or even recurring - I'm merely suggesting characters we could see in passing or even as the center of just one single, solitary episode.
HARLEEN QUINZEL - THE FUTURE HARLEY QUINN
A lot of fans were upset when the future Joker showed up in Gotham so early, and fans continued to be outraged over the changes being made to various characters that they grew to love from the comics over the years, including changes made to Edward Nygma and Harvey Dent. The most glaring complaint was the fact that all of the notorious villains would be well into middle-age by the time Bruce Wayne began his crime-fighting career.
Unfortunately, what's done is done... so all we can really do is just strap in and enjoy the ride. While various changes have been made to characters, the show is still fun and it's interesting to see the different takes on characters whose origins we already knew. With Joker's inclusion in the show, there's no doubt that Harleen is going to show up eventually... maybe not this season, but definitely sometime down the road.
WHO COULD PLAY HER: The first option that comes to mind, one that would fit the age of Joker so she could ideally play his twisted love interest, is Becca Tobin from Glee who played the snooty and catty (no pun-intended this time) cheerleader Kitty (alongside Supergirl Melissa Benoist).
HOW SHE COULD TIE INTO GOTHAM: At this stage of the game, Harleen would - obviously - not be a doctor yet. So, what if she were a shy, bookish girl who somehow convinces her family to open up their home to Jerome during one of his many escapes from Arkham Asylum, thinking he's a homeless teen having run away from an abusive family life? He tells fabricated stories about his upbringing to inspire sympathy and gives Harleen her future criminal nickname by remarking how it sounds like "Harley Quinn." She's fascinated by him and devastated when he's apprehended and taken away, the truth about his nature being revealed. Idealistically, it'd be great for her to go completely mad simply because she fell in love rather than going insane from bullying (Nygma, Oswald) or having a "broken home" backstory (Jerome, Ivy), which is a common theme the writers tend to fall back on.
Zatanna's childhood was retconned in the comics (long before The New 52, mind you) in order to include her father - Giovanni Zatara - as the magician who trained Bruce Wayne in the art of escape. It was explained that this came to be because Giovanni was friends with the late Thomas Wayne. Because of this, Zatanna and Bruce were childhood friends. Known as the Mistress of Magic, Zatanna appeared in Smallville and is a stage magician as well as a real one, able to summon spells and make them take flight by way of reciting her incantations backwards.
WHO COULD PLAY HER: Brenna D'Amico from Disney's latest television-musical Descendants would be a perfect fit, having similar features as the actual comic book heroine. Ironically enough, D'Amico portrayed Jane - daughter of Fairy Godmother - in Descendants and was quite horrible in the handling of her mother's magic wand. Of course, in Gotham, D'Amico's Zatanna would be much more adept than Jane at wielding magic.
HOW SHE COULD TIE INTO GOTHAM: Not much would have to change from the actual backstory of Zatanna and Bruce; simply have Giovanni pay his condolences, learn of Bruce's recent troubles (shoot-outs at the mansion, having assassins chase him across rooftops, that sort of thing), and offer to train him in the art of escape in case he finds himself in trouble. Then, introduce Zatanna.
BARBARA GORDON - THE FUTURE BATGIRL/ORACLE
Fans weren't sad at all to see the whiny and annoying Barbara, Sr. get moved to the side in favor of Dr. Leslie Thompkins as Jim's love interest... but many fans vocally worry that Kean and Gordon will wind up back together again in order to facilitate the birth of one of comics' greatest heroines: Batgirl.
Lucky for us, Barbara, Sr. and Jim are not the biological parents of Babs, as she's the daughter of Roger and Thelma Gordon, Roger being Jim's brother. In the comics, Jim and Kean take in baby Babs after her parents die and she sees Jim as her father.
WHO COULD PLAY HER: Some toddler with red hair... because, you know... Gotham.
HOW SHE COULD TIE INTO GOTHAM: They could follow the canon and have Jim's brother and sister-in-law die, adding extra pressure and responsibility when he finds himself becoming an adoptive father. This would add another element of danger and risk with his job, as his new daughter could find herself in danger or be used as a bargaining chip in ransoms and kidnappings. The showrunners could also toss the entire affair on its ear and actually have Kean and Jim reunite to sire the child (God, I hope not, because I hate Kean with such a passion) or Jim and Leslie could find themselves expecting a child of their own that turns out to be Babs.
ARNOLD WESKER - THE FUTURE VENTRILOQUIST & SCARFACE
Arnold Wesker was born into a mob family and developed a second personality, which he channels into his ventriloquist dummy named Scarface, after watching the murder of his mother. Wesker is completely subservient to the abusive gangster puppet, who has a hint of a supernatural element as he was supposedly carved from the wood of the old gallows at Blackgate Penitentiary.
WHO COULD PLAY HIM: There's nothing I love more than when a television show based off of something else deliberately casts actors as a nod to the faithful fans... such as when Smallville brought on Dean Cain and Christopher Reeve for stints on the show. Mark Hammill would be a brilliant nod to the fans who know him all-too-well as the legendary voice of The Joker in virtually every animated Batman film, show, and video game. More importantly, as a talented voice actor, Hammill could come up with a brilliant voice for Scarface and also play the bumbling and meek Wesker to perfection.
HOW HE COULD TIE INTO GOTHAM: Simple, have Wesker be a member of one of Gotham's many crime families, bring his origins to life, and be sure to include him first encountering Scarface - who was carved by Wesker's cellmate at Blackgate - and doing the bidding of the dummy by killing his cellmate and escaping incarceration. It would also be something to see the expressions of Donal Logue and Ben McKenzie as they hunt down a shadowy mob figure, only to find that the mob is being led by said dummy.
VICTOR FRIES - THE FUTURE MR. FREEZE
After Arnold Schwarzenegger's horrific turn as the ice-cold behemoth in Batman & Robin, don't you think Mr. Freeze deserves a second chance at live-action greatness? Before he was "letting it go" long before Elsa, Victor Fries was a celebrated scientist and loving husband. His mission is clear, to find a cure to save his wife.
WHO COULD PLAY HIM: Enter J.K. Simmons, the Academy Award Winner who also played a brilliantly imposing and threatening character on HBO's prison drama OZ. Also playing an articulate psychiatrist on Law & Order: Special Victim's Unit, Simmons could easily tackle the job of playing a refined and genius scientist and also has the ability and talent to make him very likable, which would simply make it even more tragic for viewers who are already aware of what kind of twisted future fate has in store for him.
HOW HE COULD TIE INTO GOTHAM: He could easily show up as a consultant on a case, possibly working alongside last season's breakout character, Edward Nygma. Perhaps Victor even becomes suspicious of Nygma as he spirals further into madness? No matter his involvement, Victor would most definitely - and should - be portrayed as a good man (and if you have a hard time picturing Simmons as a friendly guy, just remember, he's the voice of the Yellow M&M).
NORA FRIES - THE FUTURE LAZARA
Shortly after marrying Victor Fries, Nora fell terminally ill and was frozen by her husband until he could develop a cure for her, resulting in his criminal behavior as Mr. Freeze. In film and television, Nora has never been portrayed as alive and is usually seen chilling (hehehe) in her cryogenic chamber. Eventually, in the comics, Nora is placed into one of Ra's Al Ghul's Lazarus Pits and she becomes known as Lazara, able to conjure flame and raise the dead.
Well, that escalated quickly.
WHO COULD PLAY HER: As I mentioned, I enjoy when television shows cast actors as a wink and nudge to fans. Nora - often referred to as kind and loving - would have to be embodied by someone beautiful, warm, and nurturing. Dina Meyer - one of the only good things to come out of the WB's ill-fated Birds of Prey series (where she played an amazing Oracle/Barbara Gordon) - would fit the bill perfectly.
HOW SHE COULD TIE INTO GOTHAM: If anything, we should meet Nora under her maiden name - revealed as "Fields" in the New 52 - as a possible friend of Leslie's (surely Lee has friends, right? Or does she spend all her time just following Gordon around the precinct?) and a casual dropping of the name of a man she's going on a date with who will eventually become her future husband. Or, Leslie could introduce the two if Victor comes by to work on a case as a consultant with Bullock and Gordon. Just a thought.
Vicki Vale was depicted by Kim Basinger in Tim Burton's Batman. She's usually used as an on-again/off-again love interest of Bruce Wayne's and a diligent reporter (and sometimes rival of Jack Ryder as seen in Arkham Knight). While she should be around the same age as Bruce, Selina, Ivy, and/or Jerome... this show has already altered half of the cast's ages (such as Dent and Bullock, who should also be around Bruce's age, and Leslie, who should actually be closer to Alfred's age). So, why not just go ahead and bring on an adult Vicki too?
WHO COULD PLAY HER: Victoria Smurfit, who just came off of a delicious run on Once Upon a Time as the devious Cruella De Vil has the ruthless look of a reporter and the type of vibe Vicki has: a woman who will do anything to find out the truth and get to the bottom of a story.
HOW SHE COULD TIE INTO GOTHAM: She could easily be seen on the television delivering the up-to-the-minute bad news that Gotham is notorious for, interviewing people, annoying Gordon and the Chief around the precinct, being used as a hostage, or maybe even a type of combative "opposites-attract" love interest to the slovenly Bullock.
AMANDA WALLER - THE WALL
Amanda Waller is the ruthless woman behind the creation of The Suicide Squad who will stop at nothing to protect civilians, even if it means sacrificing the lives of vigilantes and criminals alike to get her point across. In animated films and shows, Amanda is often depicted as, basically, a black version of The Trunchbull from Matilda. She's towering and physically-imposing, so much so that she's nicknamed "The Wall."
WHO COULD PLAY HER: Gabourey Sidibe, from Precious and American Horror Story, could bring Amanda Waller to life the way she was intended. Live-action films and shows such as the Suicide Squad movie and Arrow all depict Waller as a svelte woman... not nearly as threatening physically as she was originally intended. The closest we've ever gotten to that representation was Pam "Foxy Brown" Grier on Smallville. With Sidibe, Amanda Waller could truly be "The Wall" and bring that physical presence that's been lacking from Waller's recent representations; her phenomenal acting ability could easily bring to life Waller's "I give zero f*cks" attitude and ruthlessness as well.
HOW SHE COULD TIE INTO GOTHAM: What happens when a really violent criminal is suddenly dragged out of his GCPD cell by mysterious SWAT-team-like members and Gordon goes to intervene, only to be stopped by "The Wall." As The Wall, Amanda is one of the first women placed in charge of her male-dominated career path, giving us a glimpse as to why she's so ruthless and cold when dragging away hardcore criminals to use in her fledgling "pet projects." This could also be an excellent way of writing out characters instead of just killing people off or sending them to Arkham (which obviously doesn't work). Maybe Gordon could enlist the help of Waller to become Commissioner in exchange for providing her with more criminals to use for her schemes... something that would weigh heavily on his conscience.
THE GRAY GHOST
At the end of season one of Gotham, Bruce and Alfred discover a hidden entrance to a cave right behind the fireplace of Thomas Wayne's study. Of course, we're all brimming with curiosity about what good 'old Tom was hiding. Many "fans" keep theorizing that he was going to become Batman. However, no one seems to take into consideration that Bruce Wayne was inspired to be Batman by his television idol, "The Gray Ghost."
WHO COULD PLAY HIM: Grayson McCouch would be a perfect fit. Haven't you heard of him? Yeah, he played Dr. Thomas Wayne in the pilot of Gotham. No, guys... I'm not suggesting that the show reuse actors for multiple parts...
HOW COULD HE TIE INTO GOTHAM: ...I don't believe, for a moment, that Thomas Wayne was becoming Batman (unless they pull a huge swerve and we find out Martha Wayne was becoming Batwoman, which would be cool). I think that Thomas Wayne was going to become The Gray Ghost before he was murdered and I think Bruce - much like in the Batman: The Animated Series - will still be inspired by "The Gray Ghost." I wouldn't mind seeing flashbacks of Thomas Wayne preparing for his vigilante career or seeing when he became inspired to become The Gray Ghost as well. I do find it slightly ironic that the actor playing Batman's dad has the first name "Grayson."
And finally... who is the other character that is most likely to show up in Gotham before the show ends for good?
Jada simply said she wasn't going to be back for season two... that doesn't mean she won't ever return. Just remember, we never saw her body after she "died" and there's a reason why Fish's right-hand man - Butch - was promoted to series regular.
What did you Bat-fans think of this list? What other characters do you think have the probability of dropping by Gotham this season or future season?
Sound off in the comments below and don't forget, September 21st is the rise of the villains!