Gotham boss talks avoiding Batman fatigue, their four-year plan at SDCC

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Jun 26, 2015, 4:17 PM EDT (Updated)

At this year's San Diego Comic-Con, Gotham was everywhere. The cast's faces were plasted all over buses and trains, adding to its already palpable hype. Blastr spoke to executive producer and director Danny Cannon about his unique vision for the show. With such an established property and so many iconic characters, he has his work cut out for him. But Cannon is very confident in Gotham and believes it will stand the test of time.

You've confirmed that you already have the series finale planned out. Do you have a story bible that details everything leading to that moment?

I don't think we have every single thing. We've given ourselves a lot of freedom there, but thematically we know what it is. Every single story isn't beated out, but what we do have is the emotional journey of the whole thing. That we do know. That allows us to not rush any of the villains and go right, right, right back to the very first genesis of these people without any kind of time restraints.

Is there a such thing as Batman fatigue? How do you carve out your own slice of this massive universe?

I can't get enough Batman, as far as I'm concerned. I think the way we avoid Batman fatigue is all we are doing is establishing the world that will eventually need him. All we're doing is creating a city that is corrupt and decrepit and spiraling downward and giving birth to villains that are trying to out-villain each other. That theatrical hotbed, that's a great place for drama. We're just going to walk in Gordon's shoes. Down the alleys, up the stairways, into the back rooms, into the darkness of that deliciously decrepit world, and we're gonna tell a police drama. I think we can avoid any fatigue.

Do you have enough story for three or four seasons? How far down the line will you go?

We have three to four seasons and more of that emotional journey. We have a list of people that we'd like to discover. And we have a list of people that we'll meet along the way. It goes pretty far. We don't want to rush it. We give everybody their due. We make sure that everybody gets enough attention so that we can make sure that each villain is given as much time as possible.

Why did you choose Fish Mooney as Gotham's first villain?

This is somebody that was created specifically for this show. It was a way of saying to the audience, when you come to Gotham you won't just see what the comic books have given you. You won't just see those classic iconic villains. The place is inhabited with so many different characters. So we're just saying, along with these other people, here are new ones. It was another way of us making the show our own and making it unpredictable.

What year does the show take place in?

It's nondescript. We're only saying that Gotham's timeless. It didn't get a Mayor Koch or Giuliani or Bloomberg. It didn't get a bunch of Wall Street money. It didn't get retrofitted. It's just a city that got left in the past, so we don't want to say what date it is. We're just saying that the reason they're going to need Batman is because this city is rotting from the inside. That's the dreamscape.

Were you inspired by 1989 Batman

I think Tim Burton touched on all that stuff. I'm so lucky that in the Batman franchise [there] has been some of the best talent in cinema history ... So the palate is vast and complex and beautiful ... All of these things are influences. I remember when this first came up, re-reading The Dark Knight [Returns] and The Watchmen, again, which plays with time in that way but has its feet on the ground.

How action-packed will the first season be?

I wouldn't call it action-packed. I'd say this is a more old-school way of going. In other words, we don't want to go incredible over-the-top action. All of our action is going to be because the characters need it. It's necessary to the story. It's organic to the story. There is violence, of course, because the town is a dangerous place to live.

Gotham premieres Sept. 22 on Fox.

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