'Gotham's Joker Could Be Inspired by Earth 2

Fans of Gotham got a big surprise with a leaked look at the show's "final" version of Joker as well as a follow-up, high-definition look at Cameron Monaghan's demented villain and fans have some questions about the interesting direction the character's look takes -- including what Earth its inspired by.

In leaked images from the time-jumping finale, Jeremiah Valeska's final look isn't exactly that of the iconic DC Comics Joker fans might expect with green hair. Instead, he's seen as older, scarred, his head mostly bald save for a few scraggly, unruly strands of hair. It turns out, though, that while that version of the Joker isn't the one that's best known, it's one that has roots in the comics -- specifically in the Joker of Earth-2.

Earth-2's Joker isn't hugely different than the Joker fans know from Earth-1. He's still a villain, still a thorn in Batman's side. However, on Earth-2, the Joker outlives Batman, having killed Bruce Wayne and turned his attentions to being a problem for Robin and Huntress on that Earth. In that reality, the Joker grows old and ultimately ends up in a wheelchair, somewhat decrepit, and balding, his bare scalp littered with a few straggling hairs. It's that version of the Joker that looks quite a bit like the photos of Monaghan's Valeska, especially if the images are from the time hop to the future.

It's also interesting to note that if Gotham's Joker really is inspired by Earth-2's villain and is a hint that the series takes place on such an alternate Earth, in theory it would allow for Gotham to be part of the Arrowverse. After all, on The CW's The Flash, it's been awhile since audiences went to Earth-2, Zoom's world where villains were on top and where it wouldn't be difficult to imagine Joker slaying Batman. Just a thought.

All theories aside, the transition to the final version of the show's villain that Monaghan said in an interview is a "weird challenge".

"It’s a weird challenge," Monaghan said. "It’s definitely not what I expected going into it, to develop one character for as long as I did and be like, all right, time for a new thing that’s also distinct. And then I’ve had to do that again recently in the final season as well — I won’t say how or why but there’s another huge transition for the character too."

And while it's unclear exactly what's in store for Jeremiah, especially in Gotham's flash-forward series finale, the character's transformation is just one example of the show delivering a lot of promises in its final episodes.

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"We've run out of time, so we might as well throw it in at the end there. In a reasonably well-constructed way." Ben McKenzie, who stars in the series as Jim Gordon, told reporters last year. "I don't think we're just throwing things at the wall we've created- I think John Stevens and the writers have created a pretty great- not just template in No Man's Land for sort of all hell to literally and figuratively break loose. But also a plan throughout those 10 episodes to sprinkle in all those things the fans want to see in a way that pays off. A way that doesn't just seem like lip service that actually feels like it's part of the 98 episodes we would've done in the course of five years."

Gotham airs Thursdays at 8/7c on FOX.