As longtime viewers know, Gotham is getting crazier by the minute. Fox's hit series about Batman's origins has been teasing the pending arrival of his arch-nemsis, the Joker, ever since it premiered four years ago. And for awhile it looked like the writers were settling on Jerome Valeska as the iconic villain given his flair for theatrical violence, his obsession with Bruce Wayne and that demonic cackle.
But no! Despite hardy praise of Cameron Monaghan's performance as Jerome from the animated Joker himself, Mark Hamill, it turned out in last week's episode that the show's would-be Joker is shot and killed by Jim Gordon in a rooftop gun battle.
And lo and behold, his twin brother Jeremiah appeared to take on the Joker mantle after opening a toxin-filled gift purportedly sent by Wayne Enterprises, but really given to him by Jerome in a successful bid to drive his brother insane.
But now in a sit-down with ComicBook.com, showrunner Danny Cannon has thrown a wrench into that assumption, explaining that the Clown Prince of Chaos isn't really one man – he's many.
"I don't think so, no," the executive producer coyly answered when asked whether Jeremiah will be given the Joker title going forward. "This is an origin show about the beginnings of everything, therefore we just wanted to do the beginnings of why."
For Cannon and his writing team, the concept that the Joker is a malevolent force that can be inhabited by several people is evident in Jerome's comments to Gordon just before his death — that the maniacal idea he represents will live on with or without him.
"I think that just spawned the conversation of the idea of it, of the Joker not being a one person, but like I said, it's a personality," Cannon added. "It's a way of thinking. It's more powerful than just one person. Therefore, that sparked the conversation of, if it's the opposite of good, the opposite of Bruce Wayne, is somebody who just wants to destroy, and wants to do it in a chaotic way, then that could be anyone, because you are literally just going the opposite of your main character and take it as far as you can go. I don't think that's just one person. I think that is a way of life, it's an ideology."
And ultimately the anarchy that results with so many dastardly criminals walking the streets necessitates a vigilante... a man in a black suit… The Batman.
Cannon added that the first four seasons explored the creation of that environment. But in a separate interview, he revealed the season four finale in May titled "No Man's Land" contains a "cataclysmic event" so powerful, it will blow up the Gotham universe and transform its DNA into a vastly different show – basically rebooting the series.
"Like I said, the catastrophic event, the cataclysmic event that happens in the last three episodes not only will change Gotham," Cannon notes, "it not only combines so many characters that you don't think will cooperate with each other, but it changes the face of Gotham forever, so that season five, it's almost a reboot and a different show."
For fans who've read the classic Batman: No Man's Land comic upon which the end of season four is drawing on, Gotham City is struck by a powerful earthquake which cuts off the metropolis from the rest of society, including the U.S. government, leaving havoc in its wake.
But Cannon clarified that the changes coming are more a "reboot of storylines" as opposed to the characters themselves.
"Our characters have reached a maturity now, our characters are so well defined and that's why I think as writers, that's right about the point when you want to change people's perception of them," said the Gotham mastermind. "The [term] 'reboot' means, just when you thought you knew people, something else will happen, and just when you thought your Season 5 would be like Season 4, Season 5 is completely different. New characters and old characters that have changed. It's a complete [departure], and the city has changed too, new characters on a new landscape."
And that means higher stakes too.
"We're building to something much bigger," Cannon teased. "It's the biggest cliffhanger we've done. I mean, there has to be Season 5. Everything points to that because it's set up in that way."
While Fox has yet to make an official announcement regarding Gotham's future, all signs point to a renewal as Fox chairman Gary Newman himself hinted recently, though noting it's likely the show will move from its current Thursday perch to another night.
Either way, we can't wait!