Gotham Is Bringing A Dead Character Back As A Surprising Batman Villain

Gotham's expansive rogues gallery has been on full display in Season 5, which has brought back just about every noteworthy villain that didn't experience an irreversible death. It looks like those who faced reversible deaths are more than welcome to return though, as Gotham revealed Andrew Sellon's previously murdered Mr. Penn will be returning soon as the sadistic villain The Ventriloquist, complete with the deadly dummy Scarface.

gotham's ventriloquist and scarface mr. penn

First, let's take a moment to revel in the wonder and glory that is Gotham for being the kind of show that can drop a big Ventriloquist shocker without anyone questioning whether the villain is too cartoonish or not. Granted, most of the DC shows out there eschew realism in the name of spectacle, but a homicidal dummy would probably only work on Gotham and maybe Legends of Tomorrow. (Both shows have featured Paul Reubens as guest stars, which I choose not to think of as a coincidence.)

Next, let's all wag a bemusedly judgmental finger at Gotham showrunner John Stephens, who made comments last year pegging Ventriloquist and Scarface as characters that the creative team fought to work into the story, only to have to leave them both behind for narrative reasons. Of course, lots of things that comic book TV showrunners say should always be viewed as suspicious, but it's completely believable that The Ventriloquist might be a little too heightened for last-minute inclusions.

Note that John Stephens likely wasn't purposefully lying about having to avoid using Ventriloquist. At the time he was making those comments, Fox hadn't yet ordered the additional two episodes that bring Season 5's total to twelve. So it can be presumed that those extra installments provided just the extra time needed for everyone to say hello to Ventriloquist's little friend.

The writers apparently figured out a way to not only bring in the one Batman villain who would destroy on America's Got Talent, but also to tie that introduction back to one of Season 5's big deaths. In "Penguin, Our Hero," the dutiful accountant Mr. Penn was killed by angered gang members, and he died in Penguins arms after telling his former boss that everyone hated him. Kind of a fitting end, even if it wasn't a permanent one.

Just in case anyone thought that Mr. Penn would be coming back from the grave without crossing paths with Oswald Cobblepot, think again.

Titans fans will recall that Ventriloquist and Scarface technically did show up in that show's Season 1 finale, but the complicated story details made the appearance less legitimate than expected. So Gotham will feature the first official live-action take on The Ventriloquist, which is about as awesome as can be.

First introduced in 1988, The Ventriloquist has been the deadly alter ego for three different comic book characters, though none of them were Arthur Penn. As such, it's hard to tell whether or not Gotham will even try to match Andrew Sellon's villain up with one from the source material.

Gotham airs Thursday nights on Fox at 8:00 p.m., with the Ventriloquist and Scarface's arrivals set for the February 28 episode, titled "Nothing's Shocking." Will Gotham truly be the most bonkers TV show of the 2019 midseason? I know where I'd put my money.

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.