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Spoilers below for everything that's happened so far in Gotham's fifth season, so be sure to catch up before reading.
With its fifth and final season barreling towards what will presumably be an explosive ending that causes mass double-takes and triple-takes, Gotham is delivering a storyline like none other, and the city is a "no man's land" overrun with new and familiar villains. Considering Gotham's Season 5 marketing has already teased so much, I'd wondered just how many surprises were left to discover. So when showrunner and EP John Stephens recently spoke with CinemaBlend, I asked him just that.
There's so many surprises that await. I think the thing that [will excite] really deep-seated fans – the lifelong fans of not just the show but the characters in the world and the books – will be the things we lay in there that fans might have thought, 'Oh, they're never going to get to that,' or, 'They were just going to jump over that and pretend that never happened.' But we actually either deliver on those things, or we lay the seeds where people can see where those characters and those relationships will come from in 10 or 12 or 15 years' time, if the show had actually continued through the career of the Caped Crusader.
I think that answer ranks as highly as possible when it comes to replies that can ramp up rabid excitement without actually delivering any concrete details. Plus, we're not even sure how many surprise details are involved, so fans are all welcome to come up with just as many guesses as they want.
John Stephens seems to be saying that Gotham's remaining episodes were crafted to appeal to the multimedia Batman fanatic, and not just TV viewers or comic readers or Nolan-trilogy obsessives. With a little help from the big bosses at DC, Gotham was able to more liberally pull from the entirety of these characters' mythos for Season 5. That plays into how the Fox drama is able to introduce its reimagined Bane and Selina's official Catwoman, and how Ecco was able to feature more Harley Quinn-esque characteristics.
Who and what else is on the way, though? The two biggest must-see personas left for Gotham fans to lay eyes on are Bruce Wayne's fully developed Batman and an "official" take on The Joker. It's already been confirmed that the series finale, which will take a leap forward in time, will showcase a legitimate Dark Knight, and we'll apparently even see the threads of important future narratives getting some temporary development.
But what about The Joker? Will Cameron Monaghan's disturbed cult leader Jeremiah Valeska officially take on the name at some point, or is Jeremiah just the means to an end of being an overzealous influence on the Clown Prince of Crime? Or will the mysterious third character he'll be playing in the series finale be the actual Joker? Alternately, I guess, some other character could take on the role, but meh. Cameron Monaghan is far too important at this point.
As far as big relationships go, I can really only think of is Barbara and Jim, who haven't been heavily romantic since their relationship went sour in Season 1. Since then, Barbara has gone through a handful of personality changes, with most of them being villainous and criminal in nature. But could Gotham actually get the two back together again in some way? Could we possibly lay our eyes on the birth of Batgirl before the show wraps it up? (Where are people getting condoms in Gotham City these days, anyway?)
Gotham fans can definitely expect to see some come-and-go characters soon, such as Dr. Hugo Strange the aforementioned Jeremiah. But maybe don't go hoping for lots of long-dead characters to be resurrected just for the final episodes. When talking to John Stephens, I asked him if he and the other writers ever looked back with remorse about the way moments from past seasons played out that made certain characters unusable for Season 5.
Oh, good question. I know there must have been, you know? [laughs] I have a vague feeling there must have been one or two characters that we did kill that we kind of wish we hadn't killed later on. There definitely was this feeling where you wish you could have brought back the most [memorable characters]. Because at the end of the season, and over the course of the season as you watch on, it's not like we're doing our greatest hits, but a lot of the characters who live in our world will come back and visit us. Characters who we've seen in previous seasons. And in those worlds, with a couple of those characters we really loved like Fish Mooney or Solomon Grundy/Butch or Maroni who we killed a long time ago, it was too bad that we actually couldn't bring them back. And some of them, we killed two or three times! [laughs]
If there's any Gotham City citizen that could play a part in bringing back long-gone villains, it's obviously Dr. Hugo Strange. But don't expect him to be using his dark sciences on any of the characters that John Stephens talked about. We've almost definitely said our last additional goodbyes to Jada Pinkett Smith's Fish Mooney, Drew Powell's Butch, or David Zayas' Sal Maroni.
Now, is there someone ELSE that Huge Strange could be bringing back to life? I can't really think of anyone right now that would need that treatment. I mean, unless Gotham is looking to bring Jerome Valeska back again, which would be absolutely amazing for yours truly. (Also, what happens when Strange's resurrection powers combine with Ra's al Ghul's? Do people come back with two heads or something? Make it happen, Gotham!)