After a lacklustre season three premiere of Gotham that touted James Gordon as a bounty hunter in the city, I began to ask the question: Could Gotham’s James Gordon become Batman?
For those already scrolling down to the comments to furiously attack me and my positively ludicrous questioning and line on this show, remember a few things: One, this is online and anything you type won’t actually hurt me because I have thick skin and two, I don’t think he should become Batman, I’m just pondering if the show will make him into the first Batman in this particular universe. My question isn’t ‘Should James Gordon be Batman?’ because the answer would be ‘No’. My question is ‘Could James Gordon be Batman?’. And whilst my answer would still be ‘Hell No!’, I wouldn’t put it past Gotham.
First of all, let’s look at if Gordon has ever been Batman in the comic before. Well, the answer would be yes. In 2015, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo followed up their Joker ‘Endgame’ comic book series with James Gordon taking up the mantle of Batman. With the Joker and Batman (Bruce Wayne) presumably dead, a wealthy entrepreneur realises that Gotham needs a Batman and as a result builds a huge mechanical Bat-Suit. Who pilots the suit? James Gordon. Whilst this particular comic book story/tangent has been lauded for its portrayal of Gordon and Alfred Pennyworth in a time of mourning, could we see the Gotham show do something similar?
Not really. The only thing Gotham can emulate from this particular comic is Gordon becoming Batman. It would be far too pricey to have a mechanical Batman week-in-week out on the show and this particular storyline requires a Batman pre-killed for Gordon to replace. Having said that, the idea of Gordon as Batman is still there. So, if Gordon has been Batman in the past, could the show make Gordon into Batman?
Of course, if Gordon does become Batman, where does this leave Bruce Wayne? It could be very easy and simply as saying that James Gordon is actually the first Batman and that Bruce Wayne was always the second Batman in this particular universe. Whilst many, including myself, would roll their eyes at this explanation, like I’ve already said: I wouldn’t put it past the writers on this show. Because it’s not like Gotham has been all that loyal to the Batman lore or source material at all has it? Showrunner Bruno Heller has stated that their Joker could “100%” be female. And it’s not like Barbara Kean – the worst character on TV right now – is the same Barbara Gordon that old Jimmy marries. There’s even a theory that Gotham’s Penguin could end up being the infamous Joker. AND let’s not forget that this show already features fully fleshed out Batman villains long BEFORE Batman comes to life. Making James Gordon the first Batman isn’t out of this shows silly hands.
So, if the show does make James Gordon Batman, where does Bruce Wayne stand in the long run? Some seem to think that Gordon becoming Batman could then lead to Bruce Wayne becoming the first Robin. Now, that would be interesting and poetic justice but I still don’t want to see someone be Batman before Bruce Wayne and I’m sure most people are in the same stubborn boat.
But is it even worth indulging the notion of Batman in Gotham if the people behind the show deny that he’s ever going to appear? Well, yes, if the people behind Gotham don’t exactly know how they’re going to weave Batman into the show. Before the show even premiered, Bruno Heller said that Batman would never be on the show: “If there is a superhero in the show, it is Gotham. That’s a larger than life character that’s a central part of the show. To me, heroes are more interesting than superheroes because the difference is superheroes do the impossible and drama is really about the physically possible. This is about people and people trying to overcome real problems versus trying to learn how to fly.”
Heller even went controversial with it this summer by calling out superhero TV shows that feature actual superheroes: “I don’t think superheroes work very well on TV. Probably because of the costume thing. TV is about real people and faces, and not so much about magic and the supernatural things.” – Right … so The Flash and Supergirl and Daredevil and Smallville are and were so popular why?
But before Season 3 premiered, executive producer Ken Woodruff said: “Our actor [David Mazouz] is turning 16, so he’s getting close. We’re not quite getting to the point of Batman, but we’re really focusing on trying to get to see different sides of Bruce Wayne and to lay the foundation for all those Batman things. “ … So … Batman’s going to feature in the show at some point right?
But then series star Ben McKenzie came out and said this: “In the very last frame of the very last scene of the very last episode of the very last season of Gotham, whenever that turns out to be, that’s when we’ll see Bruce Wayne put on the cape and cowl.” – What are we supposed to make of that?
Well, what I gather is that the people running Gotham don’t really know how they’re going to bring Batman into the show or when for that matter, which makes perfect sense because half the time it feels like they don’t know how to run the show in general.
And that’s the point I’m trying to make: we can sit around all day and wonder of Gotham will jump the shark and transform James Gordon into Batman but I don’t think the writers know what they’re going to do a few episodes down the line. Sure they have an overarching thread planned out but do they really know what they want to do with their characters. Did they really want to bring Fish Mooney back? Did the talk of real heroes and real people include all the super-powered individuals showing up now? Was Poison Ivy always going to be young or did they think up a convenient way to age her for season three?
So, Could Gotham’s James Gordon become Batman? Sure, why not … but … we’ll decide what to do when we run out of our billion other crazy ideas.