Batman may be a popular superhero, but the popularity of his archenemy is even higher. That's why even though FOX's sophomore series is technically Bruce Wayne's prequel, I'm more concerned about whether the Joker will be on Gotham Season 2. While Batman's biggest foe is usually not introduced before the Caped Crusader is out on the streets, Gotham has shown interest in the Joker before, so rest assured, there will be more of him in Season 2. In fact, the premiere heavily features Jerome, Season 1's closest Joker analogue, in another key role. There hasn't been any confirmation that Jerome will become the Joker, but he does have a distinctive laugh, and when Season 2 begins he's living in Arkham, so the clues are there. Even if the Gotham writers don't intend for Jerome to be the show's version of the Joker, they can't have accidentally stumbled on all of the qualities that a young version of the villain would need to have.
Producer Bruno Heller has promised even more Joker in the Season 2 episodes to come, and told ComicBook.Com in April that there's going to be a whole Joker backstory. "You're not going to see teases of The Joker before the end of the [first] season, because the beginning of Season Two is a big Joker-oriented, or 'how the Joker came to be' kind of story," he said. I'm not sure what gaps Jerome's first episode, "The Blind Fortune Teller," left in the Joker's backstory, but I suppose it's always possible that a different, new character will actually grow up to become the Joker. Though Jerome's evil cackle is pretty spot-on for the deranged villain.
But let's say the Gotham Joker is Jerome — what's left to introduce? He's already a madman who has a big smile and loves to laugh, so what other key qualities does the Joker have? He would have to be sadistic and evil, so he could develop more of a dark side.
But keep in mind that Heller said his Joker backstory will be "pre-embryonic," which means that Season 2 of Gotham is going to leave plenty of the Joker's iconic features — like scars, a purple suit, or laughing gas — unexplored. So don't expect him to go full four-color cartoon in the next few episodes.
Between what FOX has been teasing and what Bruno Heller has said about Gotham Season 2, it seems clear that the show is going to continue developing its version of the Joker. Now it just has to figure out how to make a character who's defined in opposition to Batman interesting a dozen years before Bruce Wayne ever puts on a batsuit.
Images: Jessica Miglio/FOX; Giphy (2)