WonderCon 2015: Gotham Panel Report

Ben McKenzie, Robin Lord Taylor and Cory Michael Smith represent Gotham in Anaheim.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

On Saturday night at WonderCon, DC and Warner Bros. TV presented a panel devoted to Gotham, the Batman prequel series that has proven to be one of the biggest hits on Fox.

TV Guide’s Damian Holbrook served as the Gotham panel moderator, as he welcomed cast members Ben McKenzie (Detective James Gordon), Robin Lord Taylor (Oswald Cobblepot aka The Penguin) and Cory Michael Smith (Edward Nygma aka The Riddler) and Gotham executive producer John Stevens.

Among the more compelling moments of the panel. Stevens hinted that Gotham Season 2 might see the show introduce Clayface, Mr. Freeze and Mad Hatter to the Gotham’s lineup of Batman villains-to-be. However, Stevens hedged his bets with The Court of Owls, a secretive organization that is a relatively new addition to the Batman mythos. Stevens admitted that the show’s producers have come close to using the Court of Owls, but they haven’t pulled the trigger on connecting them to the shadowy forces manipulating Wayne Enterprises.

Speaking of Bruce Wayne, Stevens indicated that next season will begin the “Bruce Wayne: Playboy” persona as the young Future Batman works on creating a public face for himself so that no one will guess what he’s really up to.

Smith seemed to accidentally tease that Nygma will be more like his comic book counterpart, The Riddler even before the end of the first season. Smith even joked with McKenzie that it was his (Gordon’s) fault because he never said “thank you” to Nygma for everything that he’s done in the Police lab.

McKenzie told the fans in attendance how he came to be involved with Gotham. He credited Bruno Heller, the man who developed Gotham, for writing the pilot episode with McKenzie in mind. He recalled that Heller had previously hired him for a pilot that was not picked up. Heller called him six months later with an offer to do Gotham.

Taylor chimed in by recalling the way that he and his agent deduced that he was reading for The Penguin. Smith added that his audition scene was playing a character called “Ned,” and he jokingly called for a Ned TV series.

McKenzie also spoke about reaching out to Geoff Johns, a prominent comic writer and DC’s Chief Creative Officer. Johns encouraged McKenzie to find his own take on Jim Gordon and he hooked him up with several comics to read. Smith later added that he only thought to ask for comics when a reporter brought it up in an interview.

Taylor and Smith both relayed their excitement about playing the first meeting between the future Penguin and Riddler. Taylor also teased a final showdown for Penguin and Fish Mooney, the former mobster portrayed by Jada Pinkett Smith. Taylor promised that the confrontation would be intense and that he feels that Oswald still has a lot of respect for Fish.

While Stevens insisted that new villains are on tap for Gotham Season 2, he also added that Jerome (the potential Joker played by Shameless star Cameron Monaghan) will be back at some point.

Regarding the darkening of Gordon’s character this season, McKenzie assured fans that Gordon would never become out and out corrupt. However, Gordon will have to confront the idea of doing bad things for good reasons in order to fight greater evils.

Gotham Season 1 will resume on Monday, April 13 on Fox.”