When Gotham was first announced, the Batman show sounded more like a police procedural set within DC Comics’ fictional Gotham City than a superhero show.
Although the Fox series has yet to introduce viewers to a full-fledged Dark Knight – David Mazouz plays a teenage Bruce Wayne – early versions of villains like the Penguin, the Riddler and Catwoman all have played pivotal roles.
Now the show adds another iconic Batman baddie to Season 3, with Alexander Siddig taking on the role of Ra’s al Ghul.
The actor is best known for playing chief medical officer Julian Bashir for seven seasons on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. However, he has since appeared on several other popular shows, including multi-episode arcs on 24, Da Vinci’s Demons, Atlantis and Peaky Blinders.
Siddig’s most high-profile recent appearance, though, is his role as Doran Martell in Seasons 5 and 6 of Game of Thrones. He is the latest of several television veterans to be added to Gotham this season. Both Ivana Milicevic (Banshee) and James Remar (Dexter) have made recent guest appearances.
According to Variety, Siddig’s version of Ra’s al Ghul will indeed be portrayed as the leader of the League of Shadows (alternatively known as the League of Assassins), the underground criminal organization which ultimately provides Bruce Wayne with his martial arts training.
An ongoing storyline on Gotham has centered on the conspiracy behind the Court of Owls and its involvement in the deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne. And the League of Shadows will tie closely into this tale, likely toward the latter part of the season.
Debuting in the comics in 1971, Ra’s al Ghul is often depicted as something of an immortal, thanks to the resurrection powers of the Lazarus Pit. At this point, it’s unclear if Gotham will embrace this more mystical side of the character in its portrayal.
Since its debut, the show has evolved from crime lords and mercenaries into the science-fiction side of Batman’s rogues gallery, with characters like Clayface and Mr. Freeze.
However, it has yet to truly veer into such fantastical territory and, very likely, will avoid this aspect of the League of Shadows initially.
Although not as well-known as someone like the Joker, Ra’s al Ghul has regularly popped up in Batman media in recent years. In addition to a number of animated series and films, the character was played by Liam Neeson in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins and (briefly) The Dark Knight Rises, and Matt Nable played him throughout Season 3 of The CW series Arrow.
While we don’t yet know when Siddig is slated to debut on Gotham, the show returns to Fox with new episodes on April 24.
Robert Yaniz Jr.
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