There will be no cape. There will be no cowl. Nevertheless, Fox's Gotham intends to stay (somewhat) true to the Batman comics that fans have come to know and love throughout more than seven decades.
Based on DC Comics characters, Gotham explores the origin stories of the Caped Crusader's eventual ally James Gordon, a detective with the Gotham City Police Department, and his battle with the villains who made the city famous.
"What we won't do is break the canonical iron truths of the mythology," executive producer Bruno Heller told reporters at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour on Sunday. "It's not a whole new mythology. But issues of chronology, we will play with in a fun way."
Instead of Bruce Wayne taking center stage in the effort to save Gotham, James Gordon will be the central focus as he fights the ever rampant corruption and crime alongside his partner and mentor Det. Harvey Bullock. "Gordon is the lynchpin of the show," Heller explained. "He's the guy who creates Batman or gives permission for Batman to exist in this world. Gordon will still remain at the center, but it's very much about [the origin stories of every character], and Gordon is the moral center that you can identify with."
Though Heller said that Batman won't appear on the series, he doesn't believe that will drive the fanboys away. "I don't think so, because the really interesting parts of the stories are the origin stories," he said. "As soon as you're into the capes and the costumes, it's less interesting than how the people got there."
He went on to add, "If there is a superhero in this show, it's Gotham. That's a larger-than-life character that's a central part of the show. To me, heroes are more interesting than superheroes, because precisely the difference is superheroes do the impossible, and drama is really about the physically possible. This is about people and people trying to overcome real problems as opposed to trying to learn how to fly."
But where do Gothamites find hope when the city's villains of are running free with nary a hero (or the hope of one) to stop them? After all, Bruce Wayne hasn't even started shaving yet! "That's the situation that the show is all about," Heller said. "How do you deal with crime of this level when there are no superheroes? It's as much about the hope and the struggle that they're engaged in... It's about men and women, not about superheroes."
And those men and women will have plenty of baddies to fight. Though the first season delves into the rise of the Penguin, Gotham's pilot plants the seeds for a fair number of villains, including Catwoman, The Riddler, Poison Ivy (Clare Foley), and Fish Mooney. "You have to front-load the pilot with the best that you've got because that's the way that you've got to open big," Heller explained. "As the show rolls on, we'll be far more ... careful with how we roll out the villains and in what way."
Gotham will premiere Monday, September 22 at 8pm on Fox.
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