'Gotham' Producers Want to Introduce "Forerunner of Harley Quinn"

"Perhaps not this season but in times to come," executive producer John Stephens says of introducing the origin story for Harley Quinn.
Warner Bros.

Gotham wants in on the current Harley Quinn craze.

Gotham executive producer John Stephens revealed Monday at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour that he wants to introduce the origin story for the DC Comics fan-favorite character currently played on the big screen by Margot Robbie. 

"A lot of those [DC Comics] characters, because they're in Suicide Squad, you're not going to be seeing them this season," Stephens said. "We'll be seeing proto-versions of some of those characters. We'll see a proto Killer Croc version. And we'll be seeing a character, perhaps not this season but in times to come, who can be a forerunner of Harley Quinn, which will be fun."

As for the Joker (currently played by Jared Leto in the DC film universe), Gotham has already started to lay the groundwork to introduce the person who is destined to become Batman's biggest enemy. Cameron Monaghan (Shameless) has played disturbed, maniacal killer Jerome over the course of two seasons, prompting many viewers to believe that he is the Joker.

But executive producer Bruno Heller previously made it clear back in season one that the Joker origin story "is a long game plan and a long story that we are telling here. It's the beginning of the story of how the Joker came to be, how the Joker was created, where he came from, who he is. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that Cameron Monaghan is the Joker. He might be. But like I say, this is a story that begins about seven or eight years before the actual Joker arrives on the scene in his fully fledged persona."

Expect Gotham to expand that mysterious Joker mythology more in season three.

"When you think of the Joker in the Batman cannon, obviously nobody else looms as large. We really imagined developing the myth of the Joker at the same time as we develop the myth of Batman," Stephens said. "We really wanted to stretch that over multiple seasons. So in the course of this year, we’re going to see how the cult of the Joker, started at the beginning of last year, is going to extend and deepen and change this year."

He continued, "We have these underground movements that have started to talk about Jerome and what he represented and how he's going to come back, setting the stage for perhaps, if Fox gives us a season four, hopefully we'll bring that back in a much bigger way and you'll see these other versions of the Joker myth with Jerome and with other characters."

And if it feels like the show is veering away from its procedural elements more and more as the seasons go on, that's not an accident.

"In season three you're really going to see how villains have taken up residence inside the city," Stephens said. "The villains have become more and more a part of the fabric of the city of Gotham. It's less and less a police show like it was in season one. It's a natural continuation of that in season three."

Stephens believes that Gotham "had to build to this point."

"The place we got to at the end of season three, with people coming back to life as medieval monks and what have you, I don't think we could have gone into that in the first episode of the first season," Stephens said with a laugh.

As for returning guest star Jada Pinkett Smith (who is billed as recurring in season three), Stephens and executive producer Ken Woodruff revealed that as of now, she is only scheduled to appear in the first two episodes of the season. 

"And then she goes away for a little while, plotting as always to return," Stephens said. "We hope to see her return in the second half of the season."

Gotham season three premieres Sept. 19 on Fox.

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