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For Season 2, Gotham is labeling itself “Rise of the Villains,” and showrunner Bruno Heller is definitely bringing in a revolving door of baddies for Jim Gordon & Co. to do battle with. And when Cameron Monaghan appeared on the show in Season 1 as the mommy-killing psychopath Jerome, it seemed obvious that he was being groomed as a future Joker. But because mystery is always more intriguing than blatant facts, it seems as if “The Joker” may be a tad more intangible within the Gotham-verse.
While talking about his expanding role on the show and everything that goes into his wacky performance, Cameron was asked by Collider if there was a chance that he might not actually become The Joker. Here’s his intriguingly cagey answer.
There’s plenty of possibility. The only way to say it is that he either is or he isn’t, or maybe he represents the idea. Maybe in this universe, The Joker is not one specific man, but more of an idea, at least to this point. This is still very early in the mythology. Who knows where it’s going to go from here.
After so much talk about Gotham bringing The Joker into the story, along with seemingly every other Batman villain that has ever existed, it’s both frustrating and interesting that the show is still playing coy with confirmation that Jerome is (or isn’t) The Joker. It was understandable to begin with, but then Heller legitimately said that The Joker’s origin story is being told at the beginning of Season 2, and the trailers have played up Jerome being maniacal.
For his part, Monaghan says that he isn’t mentally playing the part as if it’s The Joker.
I have to think of him as Jerome because, as it is, he is Jerome. In our scripts, he is Jerome. Whoever Jerome is, he’s a man who loves pain, and he loves to laugh at other people’s pain. That’s the driving component behind him. That’s what I go with.
So if we allow ourselves to look past the howling laughter to believe that Jerome isn’t legitimately The Joker, where does that leave us? Season 2 is introducing James Frain’s Theo Galavan, whom Monaghan refers to as “the ringleader for the revolution of villainy in the city of Gotham,” so could it be possible that he’s actually going to be The Joker when all is said and done? Or will it be one of the now-unknown underling criminals that he takes under his command? Or how horrible would it be if they made Barbara Kean The Joker at some point? That’s worse than The Joker being just an idea, especially since this show already brought the Red Hood into the story.
Kicking things off with deaths and other mayhem, Gotham Season 2 premieres on Fox tonight, Monday, September 21. Maybe we’ll get some answers then.