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'Gotham': Fox Snags Rights To Batman Prequel

Jennifer Kuan |
September 25, 2013 | 4:07 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Gary Oldman plays an older and presumably more jaded Commissioner Gordon in "The Dark Knight" trilogy. (Creative Commons)
Gary Oldman plays an older and presumably more jaded Commissioner Gordon in "The Dark Knight" trilogy. (Creative Commons)

Fox has earned the rights to "Gotham," a new television series set in DC Comics' popular Batman universe, in what Deadline calls one of the biggest drama deals for the 2014-2015 television season. The series will be helmed by Bruno Heller, showrunner for "The Mentalist," and will delve into Commissioner James Gordon's origin story.

In this sense, the basis of the series mirrors that of Marvel's "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," as Agent Phil Coulson from "The Avengers" plays a central role in the series. Both series take a minor character from a successful film and give them a turn in the spotlight.

This strategy proved incredibly effective for Marvel, as they earned huge ratings last night. Despite sharing a timeslot with "NCIS," Entertainment Weekly reports that "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." had dominating numbers in the critical 18-49 demographic. It's also a more cost-effective approach, providing viewers with familiar territory while avoiding the expenses associated with figures like The Avengers and Batman. DC will undoubtedly be looking to do the same or better with "Gotham."

Neither cast nor villains have been announced, but MTV has already created their own casting call for Commissioner Gordon. With "Gotham" set before Batman's time, DC won't be able to pull a Marvel and have Gary Oldman reprise his role from Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" trilogy.

Though DC is already in the television world with The CW's "Arrow," the Batman universe is much more established, and it is one of DC's most valuable franchises alongside Superman. DC has succeeded on the small screen in the past with the Superman franchise, as The WB's "Smallville" ran for ten seasons.

Batman himself is not expected to appear in the series, but Commissioner Gordon is a long-standing character, and he was introduced to DC's roster at the same time as the Dark Knight.

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