Shane West made his Gotham debut this past week, taking on the role of ex-military operative Eduardo Dorrance, the character who will soon transform into the infamous Bane. While he's preparing to play one of Batman's biggest rivals on the FOX prequel series, he was actually up for the role of another popular villain earlier in the series.
Ahead of his arrival on Gotham, West took some time to chat with ComicBook.com about his Bane arc in the final season. When we asked how the role came about, he mentioned that a relationship with producer Danny Cannon, from their days working on Nikita, had opened the door for his new villainous turn. However, he also mentioned that the two had talked before about getting West on Gotham, and we dug a little deeper to find out that the character he was originally approached for was Mr. Freeze.
"Well, it was out of the blue as I'm assuming a lot of their final season was. Gotham had now gone into five years and they were trying to, they had saved some characters for the finale so I think Bane was always one that they could've easily done earlier if they wanted to but they decided to wait," West explained. "[I was] familiar with Danny Cannon, one of the executive producers because he worked on Nikita. He was one of the exec producers on Nikita and they had talked about me before in the past for other roles. One of the hardest things for me in that time was I was doing a series called Salem.
"We had a phone call and I asked, I was basically like okay, I'm trying to get a little history on this Dorrance guy and then finally, Danny snapped and he goes, 'Shane, all right, it's gonna be Bane, all right? That's what it's gonna be.' I was like, 'All right, cool.'"
Of course, we had to ask West to elaborate on the "other roles" from the past seasons that he was asked about. The actor said that he had discussed coming on as Mr. Freeze but couldn't make the scheduling work out. The role ultimately went to Nathan Darrow.
"There was one. Well, involving Gotham," West continued. "We had a little bit of a go with Mr. Freeze actually. I was excited about that because obviously another iconic Batman villain and once again, at that point, I had never played anyone yet. But I think because I was on Salem and I think the guy who did it was much more right for the role than I was anyway, but I think that it helped things just not working out and then a couple years go by or probably three or four, I'm not even sure of the timeline, but all of the sudden, coming back with something like Bane felt like it was like wow, I think waiting was the right choice."
Waiting was definitely the right choice. Not only was Mr. Freeze incredibly well-cast, but West was able to take on an even bigger role in the greater Batman mythos. Everything worked out in the end.
New episodes of Gotham air on Thursday nights at 8 pm ET on FOX.