TV's Gotham is slowly bringing Batman to the small screen, but don't expect to see the fully fledged hero in season 4. "He will wear body armor and grappling hooks, but he will not be Batman," said Gotham executive producer John Stephens during a San Diego Comic Con panel. "It's a little more of a Batman: Year One in a different setting."
Gotham has spent its three seasons detailing the early steps of some of DC Comics' most famous heroes and villains, including the young Bruce Wayne, Jim Gordon, Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman, Scarecrow, Ra's al Ghul, and the Joker.
There may not be a Dark Knight to oppose Gotham's fiercest foes just yet, but in the season 3 finale (spoilers), an inexperienced Bruce stepped up his hero game, donning a rough vigilante suit (complete with cloak but sans cowl) and preventing a violent crime in a backstreet alleyway.
Stephens expanded upon his extended origin comments during a Comic Con roundtable, saying: "I'd say visually, when you look at what Bruce is going to be doing this season, it's gonna look far closer to what our conception of Batman is definitely gonna be."
"You're also going to get to see him do very specific things, certain elements like when you watch Bruce Wayne acting like a playboy, we sort of ask the question, how did he learn to do that so well? Well, maybe there's a time that he wasn't pretending to be that," Stephens teased. "And we actually play with a little bit of Bruce having a teenage spiral, where he enjoys the elements of being a billionaire with no parents in Gotham, that he can draw from later on to become the fake playboy."
Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli's Batman: Year One is among the most iconic and influential Batman stories, telling the earliest days of Bruce Wayne's crime fighting career while establishing the caped crusader's relationship with officer James Gordon, future Gotham City police commissioner and one of Batman's most trusted allies.
Year One helped inspire filmmaker Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins, which went to great lengths to detail Bruce Wayne's journey from wayward billionaire orphan to costumed superhero and protector of Gotham city.
Bruce won't be the only character taking steps towards his destiny in season 4: Jonathan Crane (Charlie Tahan), the future Scarecrow, will return to menace Gotham, as will Jerome (Cameron Monaghan), the not-quite-yet-but-pretty-much Joker.
Gotham returns to Fox for its season 4 premiere Thursday, September 21st.