Despite plenty of evidence to the contrary, it turns out Jerome isn’t the Joker of Gotham after all. When Gotham premiered, it did so promising plenty of Easter eggs for the Dark Knight’s greatest foe. Throughout the series, maniacal laughter could be heard and ‘HAHAHA‘ graffiti is never hard to spot in the city. We’ve even seen a failed standup and a take on the Red Hood persona, both homages to The Killing Joke.
Once Jerome Valeska was introduced, however, the Joker seemed to have arrived. Raised in an abusive setting in the circus, we quickly learned about Jerome’s dark past. With each new season, his mania grew more and more and fans began to embrace actor Cameron Monaghan’s unique take on the proto-Joker. In the end, though, it looks as he the character was merely an homage.
Comic Book spoke with Gotham co-executive producer Bryan Wynbrandt, who revealed that Jerome would never become the Joker on the show. In fact, the villain might never appear at all.
“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.”
All told, this seems like a bit of a cheat. The producers of Gotham have regularly teased fans that both Joker and Harley Quinn were coming to the show, only to backpedal once the media coverage has run its course. Meanwhile, Jerome’s most recent appearance had him looking uncannily like the Joker, from his face to his clothes. Taking Wynbrandt at his word, though, it seems the minds behind the show just aren’t comfortable altering the character.
“This is a show about origin. last year we paid homage to one of our favorite 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 cannon. 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.”
Again, the explanation feels a bit like playing both sides. Jerome has essentially delivered Gotham a take on Joker, but the producers can claim that’s not the case to cover themselves from any fan outrage. Considering how much Jerome is beloved on the show, however, the whole thing seems unnecessary. Regardless, Monaghan has certainly made his mark on the series. And while he generally disappears for long stretches, here’s hoping it won’t be much longer until he returns.
Source: Comic Book