It’s time for the “Rise of the Villains” on Gotham.
Season two’s tagline is more than just a phrase slapped on promotional posters. It’s Gotham‘s modus operandi in the DC Comics’ sophomore outing, and that will become abundantly clear in as early as the first 10 minutes of the season two premiere, airing tonight.
Gone is the dragging, frustrating pacing of season one that caused many fans to lose hope in the show altogether. Instead, Gotham opted to bet on what worked in season one — namely, the villains that captured the fans’ attention in their all-too-brief scenes. You want more Jerome (Shameless star Cameron Monaghan)? You get him in spades. You want to see the sheltered “it girl” Barbara (Erin Richards) completely lose her marbles and become a sociopath? Done and done. You want to see the golden boy hero Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) drift to the dark side? You even get that too!
After screening the first two episodes of this season early, Nerdist talked with Gotham executive producer Bruno Heller in advance of tonight’s incredible season premiere to dish all about why the Fox series decided to shift its focus to the villains, what fans can expect from this season and more. Check out our Q&A with Heller below!
Nerdist: Before we get started, I have to give you major props for how Gotham really hits the ground running and completely reinvents the show in the first two episodes of season two.
Bruno Heller: Thank you! Reinvention is a good word. In the first season, you discover things about your show and what it really wants to be. I think we’ve discovered that now, and it’s great fun making it when you know what you’re doing, frankly. And I think that is reflected in our show this season. We’re really bitten into where the meat of the story is.
Nerdist: What would you say is the biggest change from season one to season two?
BH: The biggest change is last season was really about the origins of the Gotham world that everyone is familiar with. This season, our subtitle is “Rise of the Villains.” We’re moving into the anarchic, chaotic spectacular world that Batman is going to come to live in. Gotham is descending into anarchy, but it’s also descending into a more epic scale, which I really like. Old school Gotham was run by people like Falcone (John Doman), mobsters that we have in our world. Now we’re moving into that larger-than-life world that leads to Batman down the line in that world. We’ve upped the stakes this season.
Nerdist: What inspired the shift in focus to the villains this season?
BH: One of the challenges with a story like this is that we’re telling a story that people know what the outcome is, they know where we’re going down the line. The trick with the storytelling here is – rationing might be the wrong word – laying out the story in the right rhythms. We can’t jump ahead to the future too early; We’re telling the history of this city, so we have to tell it in order. This was always planned, this gradual ramping up. Season two will be more spectacular and gothic and scary than season one. And then season three will be bigger and stranger and more spectacular than season two. We’re building all the time.
Nerdist: You have been very cagey about answering whether or not Jerome is actually Joker or just somehow a part of the Joker’s origin story. This season, it looks more and more like Jerome really is the Joker. Are you going to give a concrete answer on his identity this season?
BH: We’re going to be giving you concrete answers to his identity in the first few episodes. That story is going to come to a huge and shocking resolution which will explain the whole Joker myth and how it began and how the Joker came to be. It’s one of those storylines I can’t tell you too much about because people are going to love it. And Cameron Monaghan gives a genius performance that will freak people out in the best kind of way. We’re grabbing that story with both hands by the throat and the answers are going to be surprising but satisfying and true to the great mythology we’re following here.
Gotham season two premieres tonight at 8 p.m. on Fox. Are you excited to see the darker shift in tone? Hit the comments section below to weigh in now!
Image Credit: FOX