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When the new Fox comic book series Gotham was announced back in September, the network was very clear about one specific aspect of the show: Batman will not be included. Set in a time before the Caped Crusader threw on his cowl and started scaring the shit out of the city's criminal element, Gotham will actually be an origin story for Police Commissioner Gordon and his battle with some notorious supervillains. But while Batman may not have a part in the series, that doesn't mean his alter ego won't.
Fox Entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly spoke at the Television Critics Association winter press tour earlier today and while spilling a few cool little details about the Gotham television show, and, according to The Hollywood Reporter, while doing so announced that the series will indeed include a young version of Bruce Wayne. "This is not one of the things where you bought a franchise and then none of characters people know," Reilly said. "We will follow Bruce Wayne right up until the point where he gets interesting."
Given those statements, it would appear that the network has some serious long-term plans for the new show. The casting process has already begun for the pilot, and THR's sources say that the series is looking for a 12-year-old actor to play the young billionaire. In most comic book origin stories, Wayne didn't start dressing up as Batman until his 20s, which means that it would take probably about 10 years to reach that "where he gets interesting point" (feel free to start your Smallville comparisons now). At the same time, having a Bruce this young could mean that the show will begin with Thomas and Martha being killed in cold blood by the lowlife Joe Chill. Perhaps that will be Gordon's first investigation.
Beyond Bruce Wayne, Reilly also revealed some of the famous villains who will be making appearances on the show, including The Riddler, Catwoman, Penguin and The Joker. Unfortunately there isn't any information regarding exactly how they will be included into the world, but it's clear that their crime habits won't be inspired by the presence of the Dark Knight in Gotham. Said the television executive, "It's Gotham teetering on the edge. This is all of the classic Batman characters."
The show seems to still be in the early stages, but it's being seen as also a priority by Fox (hard to blame them given the success of comic book movies these days). Bruno Heller, who is probably best known for being the showrunner of The Mentalist, is both executive producing and writing the pilot, while Judge Dredd director Danny Cannon has come aboard to helm and also serve as an EP. With the casting process having started we should start hearing about the show's cast in the next few weeks/months. Stay tuned for more updates!