In a surprise turn of events just a couple of hours after the rumor mill predicted a Gotham City-centric TV series, Deadline Hollywood released information stating that Fox has picked up the rights to air a series within the border’s of Batman’s hometown. The Deadline article detailed the new series thusly:
In one of the biggest drama deals this season, after a bidding war, Fox has landed Gotham, from Warner Bros. TV and The Mentalist creator Bruno Heller, with a series commitment. For Gotham, Warner Bros. TV is mining one of DC Comics‘ most popular character universes, Batman. It explores the origin stories of Commissioner James Gordon and the villains who made Gotham City famous. In Gotham, Gordon is still a detective with the Gotham City Police Department and has yet to meet Batman, who will not be part of the series.
Notable differences exist between what is actually happening here, and what the norm for the Gotham Central series would likely have been if based on the comic series. Primarily, Gotham Central took place after Batman was already well-established in Gotham City, and the comic book featured the Dark Knight intermittently. While Central took place within the GCPD’s main precinct, Gordon was not a character of focus, instead featuring hardworking detectives like Marcus Driver, Crispus Allen, or Renee Montoya.
As an origin series for James Gordon taking place before Batman’s arrival in the city, Gotham exists as a potentially fascinating look at one of Batman’s most defining supporting characters. While comics like Year One and The Long Halloween and films like Batman Begins gave Gordon a great underlying basis for his years before becoming Batman’s most important crimefighting partner and contact, an episodic TV series focusing on the character has the unique opportunity to both add to the mythology of the DC Universe while also characterizing Gotham City itself in an interesting fashion. It won’t be long before casting rumors fly off the handle. One of the reasons I was so dismayed about hearing Bryan Cranston’s name up for Lex Luthor is because I feel like he would be the perfect embodiment for James Gordon, a character he voiced in the animated Batman: Year One film.
It’ll also be interesting to see if this series forms the basis of Gotham’s history for the forthcoming Man of Steel sequel featuring Batman, which is a question worth asking since Warner Bros. has historically been very unwilling to have two separate live-action versions of Batman’s world exist at the same time. This was the reason that Bruce Wayne never appeared on Smallville, among other embargoes they placed on Batman characters in various other series.
As details continue to emerge, we’ll do what we can to keep you informed as the DC Universe continues to expand beyond the comics page and the film reel!
(Special thanks to Josh Costella!)
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