It turns out that despite all the Easter eggs, all the ‘HAHAHA’ graffiti and the maniacal laughter, that Jerome Valeska is in fact NOT the Joker of Gotham after all.
Once Jerome Valeska was introduced, it appeared that the Joker had finally arrived. Through each season we learned more about his dark past through the abuse suffered as a child and fans quickly took to Cameron Monaghan’s unique take on the Joker. However, it looks as though his character is merely an homage.
ComicBook.com recently spoke with Gotham co-executive producer Bryan Wynbrandt, who revealed that Jerome would never become the Joker on the show.
“Obviously Jerome is our homage. He’s obviously not the Joker himself, although [he] clearly seems to be the impetus that eventually creates the Joker. The more that we see him, the more he carves out his own path I’d say. I wouldn’t say he becomes more the Joker, but the Jerome character continues to evolve.”
This all feels a bit strange, they have regularly teased both The Joker and Harley Quinn coming to the show. With Jerome’s recent appearance looking strikingly similar to The Joker, from his face to his clothing, it all feels like a little bit of a cheat.
“This is a show about origin. last year we paid homage to one of our favourite Batman stories, ‘The Killing Joke.’ I think there’s definitely stuff within the canon that we as a room are more willing to be nimble with and more willing to go a different direction than the canon. For instance, the Penguin/Nygma love story. When it comes to Joker, he’s so iconic to that Batman character that it feels like we don’t want to get to Joker ever. Jerome feels like he is that origin of that.”
The explanation again feels a little off. Jerome has clearly been the Joker of the show but I guess by making this claim they can appease those fans outraged by any alterations to the character.
Regardless of which side you take, it feels difficult to argue that Jerome has made his mark on the show and we can all hope he returns sooner rather than later.