“Gotham” seems to have introduced all of the major recognizable villains this year, except one. The Joker has remained a mystery throughout Season 1, and with a long-term plan, it didn’t seem like the Fox drama would bring him on just yet. Much to the delight of many Batman fans, the origins of the Joker are being revealed -- but that doesn’t mean they’re introducing the villain.
“Shameless” actor Cameron Monaghan is playing a character named Jerome in episode 16, which airs Monday night. While his pale skin and bright red hair certainly hint at him being the Joker, executive producer Bruno Heller isn’t sure Jerome is really the famous villain.
“This is not a red herring,” Heller told E! Online. “It's the beginning of the story of how the Joker came to be, how the Joker was created, where he came from, who he is. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that Cameron Monaghan is the Joker. He might be.”
While Jerome may not be the Joker, he is certainly connected to him somehow. He at least connects Gordon (Ben McKenzie) to the famous villain’s story. “A murder happens at the circus and Jerome is a grieving victim of the murder,” Heller told TV Guide. “He's a young man who's deeply affected by the murder, which is why and how he comes into contact with Gordon. He comes from a tortured and dysfunctional family with many secrets that are revealed in this episode. It gives some insight into the kind of person that the Joker eventually becomes.”
Also important to that insight is episode 17, titled “The Red Hood.” Comic book fans recognize the title as an important part of the Joker’s history, but Heller warned fans "Gotham" doesn’t follow the comic book mythology perfectly.
“So, we tried to walk the line between invention and faithfulness,” Heller said. “We always try to pay respect and honor to the best of the mythology, and we will never veer so far away from those kind of canonical moments that people feel we are telling some other story. It's very much about the Gotham that people know and love.”
If Jerome’s past gives insight, and he is in an episode with a well-known reference to the Joker mythology, it would seem that he has to be deeply connected to the Joker. If he isn’t the Joker himself, it seems they would have to be at least related. However, that answer may not be revealed for a few years.
“But, like I say, this is a story that begins about seven or eight years before the actual Joker arrives on the scene in his fully fledged persona,” Heller told E! Online. “As we're telling with all of these characters, the origin story of that villain begins Monday.”
“Gotham” Season 1, episode 16 airs Monday night at 8 p.m. EST on Fox. Do you think Jerome will be the Joker or is he just connected to him? Sound off in the comments section below!