Though Fox’s Gotham series has been one of the few breakout genre hits of the year (along with The CW’s Flash), we could’ve seen a very different take on the Batman prequel if this parallel series had gotten a green light.
With the project all but dead, the development team behind a parallel Gotham series has revealed the details of what the aborted series might’ve looked like. Up-and-coming short film maker Harry Locke IV was deep in development on his own Gotham and was preparing to pitch to the studio when word broke of the version we all know today.
Locke’s producing partners seemed high enough on the project to hook him up with a former showrunner from Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman to help tighten up the idea and break how it’d work week to week. But no one knew Warner Bros. already had a version rolling along internally, and this one never even made it off the drawing board.
Locke’s take on the franchise would’ve been a very different animal from the series Fox is currently airing, and would’ve instead been framed around college student Olivia Sage and her Gotham police officer father (plus some canon mob characters like Carmine Falcone) as they try to survive in a town that is being driven insane by a powerful hallucinogenic called Joker’s Wild (hmm). Batman is also kicking around in the shadows in this modern-day pitch.
Here’s the official development synopsis:
The home of the Dark Knight viewed through the eyes of its citizen’s greatest threat…themselves.
Synopsis: A world asphyxiating on its own blood and moral depravity, GOTHAM thrusts us into a community at its breaking point, barreling headlong into urban warfare with the greatest gallery of rogues known to man smelling blood in the water. Winter is upon the dark city, and its citizens are being ushered towards an inevitable confrontation against a most vicious threat… their own sins.
Olivia Sage, a struggling 21-year-old college physics student, reluctantly returns home to Gotham City following the grisly murder of her younger sister. Amidst mourning her death and tending a frayed relationship with her father, she finds the sprawling megalopolis quickly becoming engulfed by a powerful new hallucinogenic derived from Joker Venom. The drug spreads rapidly from the city’s underbelly and into its mainstream consciousness, igniting urban warfare in its wake, and exposing a corrupt political façade teetering on the edge of collapse.
GOTHAM seeks to bring forth the creation of an episodic fiction series that explores the famed city of DC Comics through an unfamiliar perspective, the lives of its very inhabitants. For over 50 years, fans around the world have made countless trips to a nightmare built from stone and metal, witnessing the world’s most revered heroes and despised villains engage in colossal warfare. However, these stories have often utilized Gotham City as a backdrop to the action, viewing the city on a macro level to the trials and tribulations survived by its patron guardian… until now. GOTHAM takes us into the city deeper than ever before, bringing specific focus to the unknown inhabitants that make the city come to life, and offering a glimpse at daily survival under the constant threat of super-villains, inexplicable supernatural occurrences, and the looming presence of an unpredictable entity known only as The Batman.
Honestly, it’s not a bad pitch. It’s a less direct take on the franchise when compared to what we eventually got, and we love the family drama idea to help ground it, but you’d have to think the larger focus on non-canon characters might’ve hurt the odds if they’d actually gotten this thing off the ground. Part of what brings you to Fox’s Gotham is the logline pitch — “young Jim Gordon tries to save city before Batman.” Locke’s version isn’t quite as cut and dried, though it definitely does sound more ambitious.
(Via Voices From Krypton)