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Although we’ve met quite a few of Batman’s eventual villains during Gotham this season, one that has stayed absent is Batman’s arch-nemesis The Joker. Unlike most other members of the Caped Crusader’s rogues gallery, Joker has never gotten a definitive origin, so it’s harder to approach the character pre-homicidal clown transformation. Still, it was only a matter of time before we met this version of the Clown Prince of Crime, and it's happening a lot sooner than expected, as executive producer Bruno Heller revealed fans can expect the cackling maniac to be touched upon later this year.

Heller told TV Guide that by the end of the first season, viewers can expect to get a glimpse of The Joker. While they were originally planning to hold off on introducing him, it was decided the show should change its approach for its primary audience. Said Heller:
We've said you're going to be waiting a bit longer for it, but this is America -- nobody wants to wait. So, we will scratch the surface of that story, yes. But just scratch it -- a little tap on the door.

Gotham will be establishing an indirect connection to The Joker later this month.The February 23 episode will feature James Gordon and Harvey Bullock tracking down the Red Hood Gang, a team of criminals introduced during the New 52. In the Batman storyline Zero Year, it is implied that the man who would eventually become Joker is the leader of the Red Hood Gang at the time Bruce Wayne starts fighting crime in Gotham City. It’s possible the show will take a similar route and connect the future mass murderer with the gang. In the pre-New 52 continuity, the pre-Joker donned the Red Hood identity to help a gang of thieves break into the Ace Chemical Factory, not knowing that this gang usually hired a patsy to dress as Red Hood to divert police attention away from them.

There have been several theories as to who The Joker might be in his universe, ranging from the comedian auditioning at Fish Mooney’s club in the pilot to the outlandish proposition that Oswald Cobblepot eventually becomes him. Even though the show will eventually introduce the Joker, it’s doubtful they will give us too much personal information to work with, specifically his real name.

Part of the character’s appeal is his shadowy past, so if they outright reveal who this guy was before going on killing sprees in the purple suit, that part of the charm is gone. So while we’ll get to know future villains like Oswald, Selina Kyle and Edward Nygma in-depth, Gotham would be wise to keep their version of Joker steeped in mystery.

You can catch Gotham Mondays at 8/7c on Fox.

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