When Gotham returns tonight for its third season, fans are wondering if they will see Jerome Valeska become the Clown Prince of Crime. The character is a clear nod towards the DC Comics villain, so many were stunned to see Jerome's violent end last season, but don't believe everything you see. Gotham is known for surprise resurrections, and producer Ken Woodruff is teasing that Jerome might return as The Joker.
Speaking with /Film, Woodruff said that Jerome has "got to to come back one of these days." Of course, many fans had assumed the manic baddie would make his way back to Gotham. The second season finale left Jerome dead at the hands of Theo Galavan, but the show has teased the character's return for awhile now.
When Woodruff was asked if Jerome's death was meant to deflect rumors connecting the character to The Joker, the producer said it was. "Jerome was always supposed to be the inspiration for The Joker," he explained. "Maybe he'll go through an evolution that'll end up becoming the actual Joker that we all know. The whole idea was that he was supposed to be the inspiration for it."
However, Woodruff is leaving himself and his compatriots a bit of wiggle room when it comes to The Joker's introduction to Gotham. The producer also said the wacked-out villain might be someone who Jerome interacted with, but most fans hope to see Jerome take on the crazy clown.
Those fans were convinced they'd see Jerome become The Joker when they heard a very familiar laugh at the second season's close. After a group of crazed experiments escaped their prison at Indian Hill, fans freaked when they heard Jerome's maniacal laugh. He confirmed the laughter belonged to Jerome, but the producer did say the character wouldn't return immediately in the third season of Gotham.
"[The laugh] was really to keep [the Joker] alive, to keep Jerome and that threat of the Joker alive. We wanted to make sure fans don't feel that we're completely done with [the mythology of the Joker] because we are 100 percent, absolutely not," he said. "[But,] it's not going to be something we delve into right way at the top of the season," Woodruff said.
In a separate interview, executive producer John Stephens also spoke about Jerome's future on Gotham. "It is 100% our intention to bring Jerome back,' he said.
"You'll have these underground movements that have started to talk about Jerome and what he represented and how he's going to come back like in the days of John the Baptist," he explained. "Setting the stage that if there is a Season 4, hopefully we'll bring that back in a much bigger way and you'll see these different versions of the Joker myth. He plays into the idea of transformation. When he comes back, you want to see that new version. That next step forward."
Heading into Season Three, Gotham will continue to follow the evolving stories of the city's most malevolent villains: The Penguin; Edward Nygma/The Riddler; Selina Kyle/the future Catwoman; and Barbara Kean. Gotham also will dive into the origin stories of The Mad Hatter and the Tweed Brothers, and will peel back the curtain on the Court of Owls.
Gotham will premiere on Monday, September 19th at 8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT.