One thing that Gotham has had going for it from the beginning is a willingness to deviate from canon. We’ve seen new takes on the Falcone family, Lee Tompkins, Penguin, Riddler, and pretty much every other character in Batman’s world. The potential depiction of his most famous adversary, the Joker, was always a question and according to recent reports, that will continue. Cameron Monaghan, who has played both Jerome and Jeremiah Valeska (twins who have each taken on personas very similar to the Clown Prince Of Crime,) as well as producer John Stephens, have both confirmed that not only will neither Valeska brother become the Joker, Gotham isn’t even allowed to use the ‘J’ word or green hair on the show.
Monaghan posted this yesterday
Various hair tests. Pure green was off-limits to us (as well as the name “Joker”), a decision from high-up as they wanted to reserve these for films. A decision which ultimately I respect. They did not want to dilute the very lucrative brand. It allowed for creativity on our end. pic.twitter.com/pSlacSUTjU
— Cameron Monaghan (@cameronmonaghan) May 12, 2018
John Stephens added this in response to questions about who Jerome (yeah, he’s dead, but when has that ever mattered on this show?) or Jeremiah might become:
“The other characters are who they are. Mad Hatter, Scarecrow, etcetera. But no, he isn’t the Joker. What we’ve always gone with is that Joker is somewhere out there, anonymous and unformed, in Gotham, and he’s watching the actions of Jeremiah and Jerome and possibly even another one, on his way somewhere down the line, and he’s adopting them as inspirations as the person he’ll one day become.”
There are a few ways to feel about this. If you’re in the camp that believes that the Joker’s hidden origin is sacred and the character is best when we don’t know what made him, this should be good news. There’s someone out there, taking notes on the actions of these Joker prototypes, but we’ll never find what creates them. The idea that he isn’t entirely original is a downer, but the origin story is saved. If you’re in the camp that wanted to see how the Joker came to be, you’re probably pissed at missing at least this show’s version of it.
Overall, it seems like a cheap move from the show. The Joker has long been one of the best villains of all time, in any medium. If the producers always knew they’d never get to use the full character, this is a premeditated ruse to string viewers along. If they didn’t, then they dove into starting down this road, and then continued down it once they found out they were limited in their options. Season four concludes next week and we haven’t gotten word of a renewal for a fifth, so hey, it may never matter and we can tell ourselves that Jeremiah becomes Joker. At this point, that may be best for everyone.