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alfred gotham

In Gotham's first three seasons, audiences were introduced to so many different characters that it's mildly impossible to believe that any of their stories could ever get fully fleshed out. But it sounds like Season 4 will go a step further in finally laying down more pieces of the puzzle that is Alfred Pennyworth's hectic and mysterious past. Star Sean Pertwee spoke with CinemaBlend and other outlets at San Diego Comic-Con, and he shared some of what fans will get to learn about Alfred when Gotham returns.

I think you're going to find out indirectly about his past, and the person that he was. He's not proud. He has more demons than Bruce has. And that's why they've always inevitably sort of drawn together, and they find each other, and that relationship suffers as the young boy grows. Alfred tries to keep up with him, and he just can't.

With Sean Pertwee's perma-suaveness always on display, Alfred is one of Gotham's most enjoyable and grounded characters, and his past could offer a ton of character-building potential. Even more so than everything we already know about him, which mostly boils down to a stint in the British Special Air Services, where he become highly skilled with unarmed combat. There are untold numbers of events in his past that could offer keen intel on his current place in life, and if he's got as many demons as he's hinting at, some more of them will almost definitely show up again soon, right? And he'll hopefully be able to punch them all in their throats.

Wouldn't it be super interesting if Gotham's frightening new take on The Scarecrow was the key to unlocking Alfred's past? Like, if the butler is given a face-full of the fear toxin, and it makes him dive into a mental black hole while remembering his early years' less virtuous moments. That would be a lot more enjoyable than watching Scarecrow attack strangers, especially if it complicates his connection to Bruce in intriguing ways.

The back half of Season 3 took Bruce and Alfred's relationship down some dark and deadly roads, and had Ra's al Ghul not been around to mention the Lazarus Pit beneath Gotham City, Alfred's story wouldn't have even made it to Season 4. (Bruce likely wouldn't have even killed him in the first place, but still.) Speaking of the young ward, Bruce's ascent to Batman-dom will ramp things up a notch between Wayne Manor's two residents. When I asked Sean Pertwee if his character's past, military or otherwise, would play into Alfred assisting Bruce during his increased vigilante, and here's what the actor said.

That does as well. I can't give too much away, because I don't know much. All I know is that they were trying to find a way to introduce Alfred's past, because that's never been shown at anytime before, really. Why he's there and who he is.

The fact that Alfred's history so rarely gets focused on has to be pretty inspiring and liberating for Gotham's creative team. Not that the writers tend to strive for direct adaptations of other comic book characters and situations -- Jerome's story comes to mind here -- but Alfred provides a nice blank canvas for them to develop new stories with. Gotham Season 4 will introduce crazy new ways of teaming its characters up, mostly on the villain side, so we're definitely down to watch Alfred mixing it up with characters that don't enter his world all that often, should that be something creator Bruno Heller is interested in. After all, Bruce did kill Alfred, so that might not sit too well with the former soldier when the story picks back up.

For all the things we shouldn't overthink about Gotham, Alfred's backstory is free from that list, and we cannot wait to see what informative nuggets will come to light in Season 4, whether its indirectly hinted at or shown in a full-on flashback. Gotham will return to Fox for Season 4 with a new night and time, and it'll make its giant debut on Thursday, September 21, at 9:00 p.m. Use your grappling hook to make it over to our summer TV schedule and our fall TV schedule to see what shows are on the way soon.

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