He's still just a high school student, but Gotham's Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) has already been through nearly as much as his adult counterparts. After being kidnapped by the Court of Owls, tortured by Ra's al Ghul, and killing Alfred, his loyal butler, he decided it's time to step up and personally do something about the violence plaguing Gotham City's streets. But will Bruce become Batman in Gotham Season 4? It certainly seemed like he was planning on it at the end of the third season, even after Alfred's resurrection in the Lazarus Pit. And sure enough, the fourth season of Gotham, premiering Sept. 21, will indeed feature young Bruce Wayne putting on a cowl for the very first time — trailers have confirmed that Lucius Fox will even be stepping in to help develop a stronger, more sophisticated costume that holds up better to the beatings delivered by Gotham City's many criminals.
However, that doesn't mean that the young hero is already Batman. You'll notice that even though he has a very similar suit on right now, and this season is subtitled Gotham: The Dark Knight, he's not wearing anything that identifies him as a bat, and he's still hasn't had a formative experience with any bats while on the show. But it's also noteworthy that in some versions of the character, Bruce chooses to become Batman because he fears bats — and Season 4 will feature the Scarecrow, who uses gas to induce visions of what his victims fear, so that formative experience may be on its way later in the season.
While Bruce may think of himself as fully grown, fully matured, and totally over the trauma of losing his parents a few years ago, he's still just a kid, and he has a lot of growing up still left to do. And according to Mazouz, the new, costumed version of Bruce Wayne might not stick around for long. In an interview with Rotten Tomatoes, the actor explained that Bruce won't be a vigilante all season long. "Something very, very emotional is going to happen towards the beginning, and it’s going to send him on a downward spiral that’ll change him forever," Mazouz said. "It’s going to suspend, put a hold on the masked vigilante stuff for a little bit. He’s going to be darker than we’ve ever seen him before."
What does that mean for Gotham Season 4? Well, Bruce experiencing a loss that takes him even deeper into himself is a sobering thought. This kid has already lost his parents, almost killed his surrogate dad, has been kidnapped dozens of times, fought a death cult that wanted to sacrifice him in order to settle a centuries-old family dispute, and the list, seriously, goes on. But whatever loss or tragedy he goes through next, even if it temporarily makes him want to hang up his mask, will ultimately make Bruce an even stronger Batman down the line. Mazouz said to ComicBook.com, "I was worried ... we were going to get to Season 4 and the writers were going to go, ... 'Let’s backtrack.' And the exact opposite happened." Sounds like Bruce's moment of doubt will be short lived. "I would say, I would know it’s accelerating in that direction. It’s not going to stop," Mazouz said to the site.
Gotham is distinguishing itself by transforming Bruce into a costumed vigilante when he's still too young to drive, turning what was originally advertised as a pre-Batman origin story into the story of a precocious teen who decides to stand up for his crime-ridden city and the very recent loss of his parents. As Mazouz said to Rotten Tomatoes, "Gotham is embracing its own unique version of this character," so whenever Bruce becomes Batman — if he even does take on that mantle in this series — it will probably be pretty exciting to see how the Gotham writers make their version of the character stand out.