Are Batman Canon Characters Safe in ‘Gotham?’


James Gordon, Harvey Bullock, Oswald Cobblepot, Harvey Dent: these characters may be canon in the Batman mythos, but none are safe from death in Gotham.

Fret not DC Comics fans. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, showrunner Bruno Heller assured that while he may have the power to kill off any character of his choosing, at the moment, it doesn’t seem likely that fans will be saying goodbye to their beloved characters.

“I wouldn’t say it’s iron clad. You’d need a damn good reason to do it and a damn good end game to justify it. We’re certainly just learning the ropes at this stage. Not to be modest about it, but we’re still learning how to do a show this big. I’m always deeply reluctant to kill off characters simply for the shock value of killing them off. I’m not averse to cheap tricks. But apart from anything else, this season literally every actor has come through and [performed really strong]. I would hate to lose any of them. Killing off Sean Bean in the first season of Game of Thrones made everyone go, “Oh, what a good idea that is!” But I don’t think it’s a good idea if you’ve got Sean Bean. The bad one was on Deadwood, when they had David Carradine doing that marvelous Wild Bill Hickok,and then he was gone,” said Heller.

In response to criticism about revealing too many iconic characters too soon, Heller said it was part of a marketing ploy, calculated, in an effort to distinguish the show from other cop dramas on air.

I never disagree with criticism. No point. We front-loaded [the show with iconic characters], which we had to do, both for story purposes and marketing purposes. We had to let people know it’s not just a hum-drum police procedural, it’s about these larger-than-life characters. If you do that you can’t just say, ‘Here’s one larger-than-life character, now wait for next season.’ Once we introduced those initial characters—Penguin, Riddler, Ivy, Selina—then we slowed down with those aspects and we’re bringing in those iconic DC characters in a much more measured way, which was always the intention. You have to have that amount of spice in the show to make it pop and different. Once the wheels are turning, it’s much easier to bring those characters in in subtle, organic ways. That’s the plan, anyway.


Other iconic characters will be making their way into Gotham, but Heller is keeping the details as to when and how under wraps.

“Well, quite. And I don’t want to give too much of that story away. But this is very much about the origin stories. We’re going to do a prenatal origin story for Robin down the line. This is not a kid being a loony Scarecrow; this is a couple episodes about how that character has evolved—everyone’s character is formed in their childhood to some degree or another. His father is involved, as is part of the [character’s] mythology.”

Fans of the show can expect for things to pick up pretty soon.

“What I would say [mild spoilers] is that at a certain point, Gordon says, ‘Screw it. I’m tired of playing it safe and being cautious. I’m going to go full throttle to bring down the corrupt police administration.’ And things start to move fast and furious and urgent. The stakes keep rising. And just when Jim thinks he’s achieved a certain level of success against the powers that be, they pull a vicious table-turn on him that will play out in the last episodes of the season in a very big, scary theatrical way.”

Gotham airs Mondays at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.