While various incarnations of Batman in the comics, on TV and in the movies have explored Bruce Wayne’s background, a lot less has been said about Commissioner James Gordon and his rise through the police ranks. Now the Fox network across the pond has hatched a deal with Warner Bros. TV to bring that story into focus in a series called Gotham.
Following a busy bidding war, Fox got the rights to develop the show, with The Mentalist creator Bruno Heller overseeing it. Gotham will follow Gordon as a police detective with the Gotham City PD, in the years before he ever meets the Caped Crusader. That means Batman won’t show up in the series – at least not yet. For what it's worth, the setting suggests that this is not a fit with the comic book Batman: Year One, which saw a younger Jim Gordon transferred to Gotham from Chicago shortly before meeting Batman. If Gordon is Gotham-based as a young man here, this will be a slightly different story.
If you were hoping for Gary Oldman to slap on some de-aging make-up, you’re probably going to be disappointed because this won’t be set in Chris Nolan’s Bat-world. But there are plenty of stories to be told about Gordon: he’s been part of Batman’s universe since Bill Finger and Bob Kane published the first comic back in 1939 and he and his family have close ties with the Caped Crusader.
This will be the first live-action TV trip to Gotham City for a long time, as Batman’s small screen adventures have mostly been via the successful animated shows. We’re surprised to see the CW losing out on this, especially since it has nabbed most of the recent DC-based offerings, including Smallville and the current Arrow, about Green Arrow, but there is tradition here: Fox TV was partly behind the Adam West series back in the 1960s.
With Batman heading back to our screens with Ben Affleck under the cowl, can Warners conquer similar ground to Disney/Marvel with Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.? And is peering into Jim Gordon’s past the right way to go about it? Of course, the show has to make it through development first...