(WARNING: The following contains MAJOR SPOILERS for next week's episode of 'Gotham,' including discussion of the nature of a soon-to-arrive character as well as at least one major plot reveal. Proceed with whatever level of caution that suggests to you is wise...)
Now, the very nature of Fox's Gotham — a show inherently centered upon the youth of Bruce "Batman" Wayne — has always made a constant stream of classic comic book cameos less likely, and more completely and utterly inevitable. After all, this is a show dedicated to filling in the blanks of Batman's youth, without actually featuring Batman himself — making the inclusion of iconic fan favorites like Mr. Freeze and the Joker all the more important.
What is perhaps a little more surprising, however, is the fact that...
We're About To See A One-Time Batman Turn Up On 'Gotham'
Specifically, that one right there: Azrael. Y'see, back in the 1990s, Bruce Wayne was briefly unable to perform his traditional crime-battling duties and handed the reins over to Jean-Paul Valley, a.k.a the vigilante Azrael.
That went about as well as you'd think (Azrael quickly became completely unhinged and brutally violent), and Bruce was soon forced to depose the new Batman, but Valley remained an ally of the Bat Family. A later incarnation of the character (a gentleman named Michael Lane) proved less benevolent, but both have since turned up in DC's rebooted New 52 universe, albeit in roles of reduced importance.
The important part of all of that, though?
(Note, this is where those aforementioned SPOILERS really start to kick in.)
Azrael Is Going To Appear In Next Week's 'Gotham'
And indeed, from the looks of it, he's set to be played by an entirely unexpected (and already established) character.
Specifically, it seems that Theo Galavan is going to be Gotham's Azrael — something that actually makes a whole lot of sense, seeing as the original comic book Azrael is a servant of the Sacred Order of St. Dumas, and Galavan comes from the (disgraced) Dumas family in the show. The recasting does, however, suggest a whole lot of changes to Azrael's original comic book origin — including an adjustment of his character into being far more of a villain. Alternatively, perhaps, Galavan could simply prove to be a precursor to another Azrael — Jean-Paul Valley for Season 3, anyone?
Either that, or we might just be set to see Theo Galavan find some redemption in a future season. Heck, could he even turn out to be an unlikely source of inspiration for Bruce Wayne?
We might just find out when Gotham returns next Monday...
What do you reckon, though?
Do you think we'll ever see Jean-Paul Valley in 'Gotham'?