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Here's how the Joker plays into Season 3.
The big reveal of Gotham's Season 2 finale was that Hugo Strange (BD Wong) had cooked up a Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) doppleganger in Indian Hill. However, some astute fans also noticed the sound of the Joker predecessor Jerome's (Cameron Monaghan) laugh while the Indian Hill patients were escaping into the night.
Was it really Jerome escaping from Indian Hill, giving hope to the theory that Gotham's fan favorite villain will rise again? Executive producer Ken Woodruff confirmed to TVGuide.com that those astute fans did hear right, but they shouldn't necessarily get their hopes up for a Jerome return -- just yet.
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"[The laugh] was really to keep [the Joker] alive, to keep Jerome and that threat of the Joker alive. We wanted to make sure fans don't feel that we're completely done with [the mythology of the Joker] because we are 100 percent, absolutely not," he said. "[But,] it's not going to be something we delve into right way at the top of the season."
The state of the Joker mythos will be addressed in a big way in the second half of the season though. That makes the most sense since Monaghan is currently busy filming Season 7 of Shameless for Showtime, making him unavailable if the Gotham team wanted to bring him back. Instead, the Batman prequel will open Season 3 with the Mad Hatter (Benedict Samuel) as its primary villain.
"We are absolutely planning in Season 3 -- but primarily in the mid to second half of Season 3 -- to delve back into the mythology of the Joker, and characters that may or may not be the Joker -- but more likely characters that are an amalgamation of what we'll come to know as the Joker," Woodruff promises. "We are definitely going to hit it."
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In fact, the rise of the Joker mythology in the tail end of Season 3 will become a major storyline for Season 4, as fellow executive producer John Stephens confirmed during the Television Critics Association fall previews.
"We're going to see how the cult of the Joker, which we started at the beginning of last year and we touched on in the middle of the year, is going to extend and deepen and change a little bit this year..You have these sort of underground movements that have started to talk about Jerome and what he represented and how he's going to come back on the day, sort of like John the Baptist, et cetera," he said.
"[That] sets the stage for, perhaps if there's a Season 4 on FOX, hopefully we'll bring that back in a much bigger way, and you will see these different versions of the Joker myth that develop next year with Jerome and with other characters. [Then] we can put those pieces together and go, 'Oh,' eventually, 'that's where the Joker himself came from.'"
Gotham Season 3 premieres Sept. 19 at 8/7c on Fox.