Is The Joker Coming to Gotham or is This Just a Joke?

Gotham is not only about the exploits of young Jim Gordon and very young Bruce Wayne; it’s also about the oddities who will one day become iconic Batman foes. The premise of the series is about how the troubled city of Gotham alters and infects his citizens, usually bringing out the worst in people, but sometimes inspiring uncommon heroism, as in the case of Gordon.

The TV universe of Fox’s Gotham has already given us proto-versions of Catwoman, the Riddler, Two-Face, Hugo Strange, Poison Ivy and—most entertaining of all—the Penguin (Brilliantly portrayed by Robin Lord Taylor).  But where, many fans of Batman ask, is the Joker? If these other bat baddies are lurking, then the clown prince of crime can’t be far behind, right? Well, he might be here earlier than anticipated.

Series producer and writer Bruno Heller originally said that we’d have to wait a while before the Joker actually appears on Gotham. He also said that several red herrings who may-or-may-not become the Joker in the future, would appear throughout the first season. However, in a recent interview with TV Guide (Why TV Guide still exists is a mystery even Batman can’t solve) Heller added, “This is America. Nobody wants to wait!”

The scenes released for this week’s episode show Cameron Monaghan (Shameless) as a crazily grinning suspect, with the famous Joker laugh overlapping his scenes. The caption tells us that this week’s villain “Is no Joke!”

So, will we be seeing the Joker this week, or is this another of those red herrings meant to tease us about the arrival of the Bat’s future arch nemesis? If it is him, he is younger than most of the other classic villains we’ve seen on the show, except for Catwoman and Poison Ivy. This Joker seems to be close to Bruce’s age. If it really is him.

Heller says we will see something of the Joker before the season ends. He states, “We’ll scratch the surface of his story, but just a scratch…A little tap on the door.”

What will the story of this new Joker be? We’ve seen different versions of his beginnings in the past, such as Jack Nicholson’s transformation in the Michael Keaton/Tim Burton film from 1989, or the pathos-filled version from Alan Moore’s popular story “the Killing Joke”. Heath Ledger’s version teased us with two different origins, although it’s likely that neither one was true. What should we expect from the Gotham Joker?

Do you think it’s too early to bring the Joker into Gotham at all, or should he be introduced early on, and remain a fixture of the series, with his growing villainhood being a counter to Bruce’s journey toward becoming a hero, much like Lex Luthor’s descent into badness paralleled Clark’s rise to greatness in Smallville?