It may be “a new day” in Gotham following the end of season one, but that air of optimism will slip away for Jim Gordon and Penguin. The premiere episode of hit show’s second season was screened at Wizard World Comic Con on Saturday. Actors Ben McKenzie and Sean Pertwee were also in Chicago for an in-depth Q&A on Sunday afternoon.
“How did we do?” McKenzie asked about the screening, receiving a roar of cheers from the crowd. He and Pertwee fielded over 20 questions about the creative processes of the first season, their favorite Batman films, and season two hints. Delivering on a promise from his own panel, Milo Ventimiglia (the Ogre) crashed the Q&A. The entertainment continued through the hour with a Penguin/Bullock skit (“Don’t do it, Jim!”) and jokes from fans about product placement for Batman shampoo and “conditioner Gordon.”
This Blogcritics contributor stepped up to the microphone as well. After a brief reference to McKenzie’s Wahoo background, this fellow University of Virginia graduate asked Pertwee what he liked most about playing Alfred. The British actor admitted that delving into Alfred’s backstory has been a compelling aspect of the part: helping Bruce (David Mazouz) overcome his fears but also seeing that the butler can learn a lot from the young billionaire.
McKenzie and Pertwee characterize the first season as a period of growth, with multiple tactics in play by directors, writers, and executives to see what would work. “We had to reign it back because we were all so brilliant,” Pertwee quipped. Calling too much attention to every onscreen villain was one problem that was addressed in network discussions, as well as capitalizing on the break between seasons to further retool strategies. According to McKenzie, the final scene in Gotham when the show ends its run will be the moment that Bruce Wayne dons the Batman costume. The plot will generally stay faithful to the Batman canon for “primary characters,” but viewers should expect other details and dynamics to keep shifting.
What does season two have in store? McKenzie teased that Gotham city will be “very chaotic” as a turf war erupts with new villains on the prowl, creating a sort of “whack-a-mole” situation for the GCPD. “The kings are close to the paupers,” he emphasized, touching upon Penguin’s glee at being the new King of Gotham. New villains on the rise or with further involvement include Firefly (Michelle Veintimilla), Mr. Freeze, Riddler (Cory Michael Smith), and siblings Theo (James Frain) and Tabitha (Jessica Lucas) Galavan. Good guys such as Captain Barnes (Michael Chiklis) and Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk) will also enter the fray.
Gotham returns to Fox on Monday, September 21 at 8|7c.