Gotham Season 2 premiered last night, kicking off what is being called “The Rise of the Villains,” and not only are the worst of Arkham Asylum running loose in the city (including Jerome Valeska and Barbara Kean), but we’re also seeing characters like Oswald Cobblepot (a.k.a. Penguin) and Edward Nygma (a.k.a. the future Riddler) take the next steps forward on their dark paths. Leading the charge this year is Theo Galavan and his sister Tabitha, who have a history with Gotham City. As it turns out, the siblings’ appearance on the Batman prequel is helping pave the way for introducing a sinister organization rooted in the past of Batman’s hometown: the Court of Owls.
When asked by Comicbook.com whether the presence of the Galavans means that the show is interested in exploring the Court of Owls, showrunner Bruno Heller that the Court will eventually appear on the show, labeling them as “deep DC mythology.” He said:
We are absolutely going to explore that world down the line. Looking at the longevity of the show, we have to hold some cards back, we can’t just throw all of the elements, all of the story at once… The long arc of the show is Bruce Wayne’s journey of discovery down into the depths of the physical and meta-physical world of Gotham. The Court of Owls is a brilliant conceit that will absolutely be part of our storytelling. I just won’t tell you when.
The Court of Owls are newcomers to the Batman’s rogues gallery, debuting only fours years ago at the start of the New 52. Created by writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo, they are a secret society that’s been operating in Gotham City’s shadows since the metropolis was built. Its members are among the city’s most wealthy and prestigious citizens, and they use their influence to direct the city as they see fit. In order to enforce their will, they rely on the undead assassins known as Talons. To most people, the Court is just a legend used to frighten children, but until Snyder and Capullo’s 12-issue arc in the main Batman book, their power in Gotham City was unmeasured. The Court’s only other appearance outside the comics so far has been in the animated movie Batman vs. Robin.
Gotham has taken liberties with establishing its villains, in some cases turning them into bad guys years before they became fully evil in the comics. Fortunately with the Court of Owls, that’s not an issue. They’ve been operating in Gotham City for centuries, so it’s easy to have them playing a role on the show years before Batman shows up. They can even be interwoven into Bruce Wayne’s story. In the comics, Bruce briefly believed that the Court was behind his parents’ death and investigated them, but came up empty-handed. Who’s to say TV Bruce wouldn’t launch a similar investigation?
While it will be a while until the Court of Owls peeks in on Gotham, fans can watch the Rise of the Villains unfold Mondays at 8 p.m. EST on Fox.