Gotham producer talks Arkham, The Riddler and origin stories for 2015 return

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Jan 5, 2015, 5:54 PM EST

Gotham returns to the schedule tonight with the episode “Rogues’ Gallery,” and it finds young Detective Gordon assigned to a gig at Arkham following the fallout of the midseason finale that saw him try (and, basically, fail) to take on the deep corruption of Gotham City. The back half of season one will also introduce genre fave Morena Baccarin into the fold.

Looking toward the rest of the season, Gotham producer Bruno Heller chatted with The Hollywood Reporter about the road so far and where they want to take things next. One thing the series has excelled at is taking what could be a stale prequel story and crafting a Burton-esque world of craziness out of it. According to Heller, that was by design:

“The important thing about telling origin stories is that you’re going to be telling something interesting, surprising and new. I always use the analogy of discovering your parents’ childhoods. If your parents’ childhoods were shown to you and it was exactly what you imagined their childhoods were, it’d be kind of disappointing. It’s important to follow the familiar mythic narrative, but also find ways to subvert, or take detours from, that narrative to surprise people with different takes on the thing.

One of the values of having Fish there is that it reminds you that it’s not a sacred myth, it’s a living myth that there have been any number of different versions of. The canonical moments, as long as you’re true to them — we wouldn’t have messed with how Bruce Wayne’s parents died, for instance — but beyond that, you have to add your own spice to the dish.”

Heller also touched on plans to bring Arkham to the forefront, after having the classic Batman locale lingering in the shadows up to this point. For Heller, it introduces a brand-new playground to tell stories within, while also tackling some lingering (future) questions from the Batman mythos. Heller promised they’ll also start paying off on all the groundwork they’ve been placing for characters like Nygma and Fish:

“[Arkham is] the next step of the story. I didn’t want to peter off after 10 episodes! [Laughs.] Arkham, in itself, is a big Gotham character, so it’s a chance to introduce Arkham as a character and then let the audience see how [Gordon] manages to get out of that particular predicament. You have to keep moving forward — the important thing about Arkham, and the first episode back explains it, is why is it so easy to escape from Arkham? In the Batman stories, there’s kind of a revolving door in there. It’s one of the fun things about setting up this world, being able to put the architecture in place to explain things like that. This is one of those things…

You’re going to see Nygma take a giant step forward into becoming the man he becomes. You’re going to see Fish Mooney placed in a situation where it’s almost unimaginable how she’ll get out of it. Her relationship with Butch and Penguin are going to be pushed to the limit. Selina Kyle’s going to do something incredibly shocking — also, so’s Fish, come to that. One of the things about the second half of the season is that all the story we’ve set up so far comes to fruition. Some people come to an end, other people are triumphant. Gordon is … no, I can’t go there. I almost told you the story, and I can’t. But I guarantee that, if you liked the first half of the season, you’ll love the second half.”

Gotham returns tonight on Fox. What do you think of the series so far?

(Via The Hollywood Reporter)