SPOILERS Ahead for last night's episode of Gotham, "The Last Laugh!"
Yes, despite his expert protrayal at the hands of Cameron Monaghan, who seemed to take the best of multiple Jokers and put them into the character of Jerome, the young man with the sadistic laugh died last night on Gotham. The character, then, serves to inspire the next attempt - or two or five or ten attempts - at becoming the ultimate villain.
When discussing the death of Jerome with Gotham showrunner Bruno Heller, though, we had to ask about the ComicBook.com theory that Barbara Kean could, in fact, become The Joker on the series. After all, Heller has said in the past that The Joker would be inspired by other people, and Barbara worked very closely with Jerome these last few episodes. She even commented to mastermind Theo Galavan, "I don't know, the kid had a way about him" when he mentioned Jerome's whole modus operandi.
At the end of a phone interview with Heller, I asked about the theory. The writer and producer known for his candid nature gave a still-somehow-surprisingly-candid response: It's completely feasible. Aside from the evidence already on Gotham, and the last three weeks of additional support for the theory about Barbara, there is some comic book support as well. If you think of Gotham as an alternate reality to the main DC Comics world, in another alternate reality, Flashpoint, there was already a female Joker. In that world, Bruce Wayne was killed in the alley, driving his father Thomas to become Batman and his mother Martha to become The Joker. Also, Barbara Kean has historically had some mental instability in the comics, and the son of her and Jim Gordon has gone on to be a sadistic killer in his own right.
Here is Bruno Heller's response to the theory - and even the possibilty of a female Joker - in full:
We talked about theories earlier, and I posted one to the site recently that became pretty popular; the theory is that Barbara could become the Joker of this world.
Bruno Heller: (laughs loudly)
Rather than asking you for a flat out yes or no that you can't give me, I'd rather ask you, how open are you to a larger twist like that, where it's a female version of a major character or a major character that we know from the comics that becomes someone else here?
BH: 100% possible. One of the central themes of the DC world is transformation and revelation. Absolutely, those kinds of – I wouldn't want to call it playing with people's expectations or gender expectations – but we've absolutely considered the possibility of a female Joker, and we haven't… well I'll stop myself from saying more because I won't be able to stop revealing things. (laughs)
No possibility – it is incumbent on us, when we're telling such a rich, and psychedelic and surreal and infinitely expandable story, it's both one of the joys of it and one of the scary things about it: you can plausibly go anywhere with this story. So nothing is too strange or too bizarre or too shocking for us to consider. And some of those shocking and surprising things will inevitably end up on screen to either the delight of fans or to their horror. As long as people respond and are engaged, we've done our job.