The night is about to turn much darker in Gotham City.
That’s because Gotham, FOX's series set during before the years of Batman, is stepping its game up with lasting narratives, darker villains, and a stronger focus on the grotesque. And leading Gotham City towards its destiny as a haven for freakish villains and costumed vigilantes are executive producers Bruno Heller and Danny Cannon. For Gotham’s second season, the producers are taking the training wheels off of their narrative bat mobile with a series that will truly embrace Batman’s macabre roots. During this year’s San Diego Comic Con International, the two divulged which new villains will haunt Gotham’s alleyways, a new focus on extended story arcs, and how they’ll utilize Batman’s chief villain—The Joker.
Is there an ongoing theme that you would like to cover for season two?
Heller: The theme, which is a genuine subtitle for the series, is “Rise of the Villains.” It is very much about the transition from old-school, mafia-type villainy, to the grandiose, grotesque, gothic villainy that Gotham is slowly moving towards. So the crimes more grand, the villains are more theatrical, and more monsters will come out of the woodwork.
Knowing how Jim and Barbara Gordon’s relationship ended in the comics, how are you approaching their relationship in season two?
Heller: That’s one of those odd things about doing a show that already has a future mapped out for it. You have to try to be true to that, but come up with twists on stuff. If you just tell people what they already know about those characters and those events, you’re missing out on the secrets. We’re revealing the secrets about those relationships in Gotham.
We got a little bit of a tease of the Joker last season, so what’s his presence going to be like this season?
Cannon: Well, he’s in Arkham—if that is in fact the Joker. He’s in Arkham, and Barbara Keane is put in the same wing as his in Arkham, which is for the worst of the worst. And an event happens, which allows him be involved the next few episodes.
Heller: He gets to fulfill his destiny in a very grand way.
We heard that the first three episodes will be really intertwined for a big story. You obviously have a large ensemble dealing with a lot of different stories, so how did you decide to service all of them in three episode arc?
Heller: We tried hard not to over-stuff ourselves in the first season. But this season, we’re much more telling. We’ll have plenty more arcs that will carry out through the year. It’s also partly the luxury of having full season order. We started out with the notion that the show would have a procedural element, but frankly the world is too antic, and dionysian to allow structure. The story has to go where the characters take them. So every episode is going to be different. Every episode is going to be its own little movie. Every episode will have energy and pop. Its much more about keeping a coherent through line through the episodes, so that each story stands alone, regardless of whether it stands alone to one episode.
What new villains are we going to see in season two?
Heller: We thought so long and hard about this. There’s so many characters that don’t have an origin story, so it’s not just a question of going back to an origin story, but its who fits in this realistic world? They have to have both feet on the ground. So they have to fit in stylistically. But we found the Mr. Freeze story be quite emotional. That’s one we’re going to look at. Hugo Strange is another interesting character we’re going to look at, as is the Calendar Man. And Azrael is another character that we’re starting at very early stage for. Tigress as well.
What is Lucius Fox’s role going to be in Season Two?
Cannon: We’re starting to explain how Lucius and Bruce Wayne got to be so tight. How did Lucius come into his life? what was his role in Wayne Enterprises, and what relationship did he have with Bruce’s father. He’s a mentor towards unlocking some of the secrets that Bruce will discover in exploring what will eventually become the bat cave.
Gotham’s second season premiers on September 21 at 8:00 p.m. on FOX.