Mad Hatter Changed The Course Of “Gotham”

Originally the upcoming first half of the third season of FOX’s “Gotham” was to go by the tagline “Heroes Will Fall”. During production however, that changed to “Mad City”.

Talking about the new season, executive producer Ken Woodruff tells THR that the new season is following a multi-year plan laid out ahead of time which aims to show how Gotham descended from a city not unlike ours to the dangerous super villain hive it becomes:

“If you are looking at the five-year plan of the show, it was that you start out with the world that looks more like ours. The whole idea is you show how a city like Gotham, which is the title character in a lot of ways, how a city turns dark and how a city enables villains and supervillains to exist. We’re telling this story of how that crazy world that Batman exists in came to be, not just these individual villains that also make our world.

The last season was really an attempt to say, this is how supervillains exist; this is why. They didn’t just pop into being, they were birthed out of Indian Hill and some of the things that were going on in the city at the time. That was always the goal. And how it changes the show going forward is that we can still always pull from that Carmine Falcone mobster, more gritty, noir-ish world to tell stories, but we can also have this new element of Man Bat or Firefly or Mr. Freeze and the technology that surrounds that. We just have a bigger canvas to paint from, basically.”

Woodruff also says the tagline change comes down to one character which impacted the eleven episodes of the season’s first half run. That character? The Mad Hatter:

“As we got into the first 11 episodes — because that’s the first half of the season — we started falling in love with a character that’s going to be appearing in episode three. We started diving into the character of the Mad Hatter and the actor that we cast [Benedict Samuel], and we wanted to spend more time with him. We were really intrigued with how he’s not just a villain who blows stuff up. He’s a villain who can actually needle into the psyche and the emotional space of our heroes. [He could] use his actions to find out more about our characters and really test our heroes.

The theme and that title became much more accurate once we started seeing these later episodes develop like 6, 7, 8, 9 and the repercussions this big character was having. That’s why it changed. But the idea and notion of heroes falling is the bigger thing that we’re accomplishing for the season as a whole. If last season was about, how did supervillains come into existence, then this season is about the other half of that, which is not only do you need supervillains to exist for a city to fall, but also you need your heroes to fall. That can mean either they die, they’re killed, or they’re disfigured or rendered incapable of helping, or they turn into villains themselves. That’s a bigger theme for us for the whole season, but in terms of the immediate first 11, Mad City makes sense. There are literally monsters running around.”

In another interview, Woodruff confirmed the return of Cameron Monaghan’s Jerome later in the season and suggests the character’s seeming death was a deflection of Joker speculation: “Jerome was always supposed to be the inspiration for The Joker. Maybe he’ll go through an evolution that’ll end up becoming the actual Joker that we all know. The whole idea was that he was supposed to be the inspiration for it.”

The third season of “Gotham” kicks off tonight on FOX.