How Gotham's Showrunner Feels About Bringing Bane To Season 5

gotham's bane shane west in military gear

Telling a Gotham fan to get ready for weird surprises is like telling Jim Gordon that it's going to be a long day. The information was plainly obvious from the start. So it should come as no real shock that Gotham is shaking things up a bit when the iconic villain Bane is introduced during the final nine-episode stretch. Speaking with CinemaBlend ahead of Episode 3, Gotham showrunner John Stephens is excited for audiences to expect the unexpected with Bane.

That was super-exciting, because we got to tell another origin story, you know? And a very different origin story than in the books, and in the Nolan movie. We do our version of [Bane's story], which for better or for worse is a very, very different version.

It cannot be denied that Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises changed the game when it comes to how Bane is viewed and portrayed within pop culture. Tom Hardy's performance, which was at once both contained and unbridled, coupled with his distorted voice to make his iteration the key version for many fans. But it's not like it was the most faithful take on the comics' use of Bane, so expect nothing different from Gotham.

In fact, Gotham almost has the disadvantage here, since Shane West will be offering up the second extended take on Bane in live-action, making heightened comparisons inevitable. (Batman & Robin's version doesn't count here, for all the obvious reasons.) Coming less than seven years after Tom Hardy's portrayal, and with an actor whose previous genre projects have been extremely hit or miss, Gotham's Bane surely needs some dramatic change-ups to stand apart.

Showrunner John Stephens gave me a better idea of what to expect from Gotham's Bane beyond just the notion that he'd be an intentionally altered take on the character.

I feel like it plays both very scary and it plays very 'boots on the ground,' which is really cool. I think it totally fits into the world. I hope fans like it. I think we'll see. I think Shane does a really great job when he comes into it as well.

What little we know about Shane West's Bane already runs counter to what anyone would have expected even six months ago. At the time when Bane-related rumors started floating, it was revealed that Gotham would bring in Eduardo Dorrance. That info had many thinking a live-action take on Bane's comic book father Edmund Dorrance was coming. (After all, Bane doesn't have an official alter ego.) However, Eduardo IS Bane, and that's obviously not the only change.

bane jim gordon and harvey in gotham season 5

Though much of Eduardo's transition to supervillain is still under wraps, we know that the character's backstory will match up with Jim's. It was reported that the two will actually be old buddies from their Army days. But while Jim shifted over to police work, Eduardo seemingly stayed part of the military-industrial complex, which is what brings him to Gotham City in its most desperate "No Man's Land" times. Sounds somewhat similar to how The Punisher revamped Billy Russo for Netflix.

However close the two men were before, it'll clearly have little effect on what goes on in Season 5. Jim won't be able to stop Eduardo from taking on his more dastardly identity, and that doesn't bode well for a city that has been all but ignored by the government. Wait a minute, what if Bane is working for the government in order to destroy Gotham? Or...what if Eduardo is actually just Jeremiah in an extremely well-crafted mask? I'd buy it.

The way Gotham's John Stephens put it, the show was able to officially bring Bane to fans because the producers were given a little more creative leeway from DC to bring in various as-yet-unseen Batman characters and references. He's what he had to say about the restrictions laid upon the writing staff in Season 5.

There were very few. [DC was] really very, very open to us, saying, 'You know what? If you want to do that, go for it.' So, they were great.

As some fans may be aware, the deeper Gotham goes into Season 5, the more madcap and bonkers it'll get, with the series finale taking place years in the future, after Bruce's vigilantism as Batman has become more widely recognized within Gotham City. (And after Cameron Monaghan takes on some kind of a third role.) It seems likely that Bane will cause quite a bit of destruction before we get there, though.

This is such a huge year for Gotham, considering its chances of getting a fifth season weren't the strongest during 2018. The fans clamored for more, and Fox made the proper decision to bring these characters back for one more dark and sinister round. I'd asked John Stephen how he and the others felt about putting together the last dozen episodes of the pre-caped crusader drama and here's what he told me:

Like a lot these things, it's a double-edged sword. Because on the one hand, we're really excited, because anything we've been holding on the shelf, we could pull out and put out there. We didn't have to save anything, we could really leave it all on the street, as they say. On the other hand, there's that bittersweet element of knowing that this was the end, that we weren't gonna get to tell any more stories when we finished this season. So, it was definitely that mixed bag [where there's] a lot of excitement going into it, but the closer we got to the end, the more the realization was that this one actually was the end.

Get ready for Gotham to pull out all the stops going forward as it brings Jeremiah back into the fold alongside his Harley-esque sidekick Ecco.

It looks like we won't have long to wait at all before meeting up with Shane West's Eduardo Dorrance in Season 5, even if he may not make the full transition to Bane in his first episode. Here's hoping it doesn't take long for the iconic character to flip the villainous switch, though.

Find out what happens when Gotham airs Monday nights on Fox at 8:00 p.m. ET. To see all the non-banes of TV viewing that are on the way, keep current with our midseason TV schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.