If I was a gambling man, I would bet money that the standup comedian from the Pilot episode of Gotham was not the Joker, despite a number of websites posing that very question. While some say it was on the minds of everyone watching the episode, I didn’t even consider him a possibility.
However, without Batman, I didn’t think creators of the show would touch the Joker.
I think the idea that creators of the show may tease different people who could possibly end up being the Joker is brilliant from a marketing standpoint. The Joker is a villain everyone — whether they are avid comic readers or not — wants to see. However, the Joker is an established Gotham villain that shows up after Bruce Wayne puts on the cape and cowl.
Even if they incorporate the Joker at some point in the Gotham series, it is way too early to even introduce the person who will end up being the iconic villain. As creators of the show said, the Joker is the “crown jewel” of Gotham villains.
Not just Gotham villains either, but DC villains. Of all the DC villains that have shown up in the comics, none of them can really be considered ‘sacred’ in the way the Joker is. Any story involving him, especially dealing with his origins, needs to be handled with care. Even the tiniest screw up will mean severe backlash from the fans.
It is true that Gotham could go with Alan Moore’s origin story for the Joker from The Killing Joke, portraying him as a struggling standup comedian, but it may not make much sense when they are playing the gang wars up as much as they are. If they do bring in the Joker at some point, we may see him first emerge as a rival gang leader who works behind the scenes and threatens the balance of power — maybe as the Red Hood — but then again this is pure speculation.
Without Batman, it may be best for the creators of Gotham to stay away from the Joker period. It may not go over as well with the fans if James Gordon confronts the Joker and not Batman. This is one of those delicate balancing acts that creators of the show have to consider, because there are some villains that are accepted as almost Batman exclusive. Batman has to be the one to face them and no one else.
However, as previously mentioned, some critics have raised a legitimate point that the show may not last long if it turns out to be just another cop drama about a good cop in a corrupt department or city. The show has started off well, but they have to continue to offer more.
It will be interesting to see what creators of Gotham do in future episodes. Personally, I am excited about the future of the show. I was excited to see it finally premiere on Monday. I look forward to seeing the second episode, “Selina Kyle,” on September 29. I think creators of the show have plenty to work with to make this not only a great TV series, but a series with a long run.