Smile! The Joker to debut on Fox's 'Gotham' this season

The laughing lunatic will join the collection of villains already introduced on the show. Will his origin story involve a meteorite and immortality?

Michael Franco
Freelancer Michael Franco writes about the serious and silly sides of science and technology for CNET and other pixel and paper pubs. He's kept his fingers on the keyboard while owning a B&B in Amish country, managing an eco-resort in the Caribbean, sweating in Singapore, and rehydrating (with beer, of course) in Prague. E-mail Michael.
Michael Franco
2 min read

It's official. The Joker will soon be joining Penguin and lots of other baddies on Fox's Batman prequel "Gotham." Video screenshot by Michael Franco/CNET

If you've been watching the Batman prequel "Gotham" on Fox this season, by now you'll be pretty familiar with its formula of introducing "Dark Knight" villains. There's Edward Nygma with his odd behaviors and -- get it? -- riddles. There's Selina Kyle who creeps over the rooftops of Gotham in a very, ahem, cat-like manner. And there's Oswald Cobblepot, whose strange walk and even stranger hairdo have already earned him the title of the Penguin.

Now, Executive Producer Bruno Heller tells TVGuide.com that this season will also see the introduction of the baddest villain to ever get a Bat-beatdown: the Joker.

Previously Heller had said he'd planned on waiting a while to introduce the laughing lunatic to the show, but now those plans have changed. "We've said you're going to be waiting a bit longer for it, but this is America -- nobody wants to wait," Heller told TVGuide.com. "So, we will scratch the surface of that story, yes. But just scratch it -- a little tap on the door."

One has to wonder how the character will be introduced and how he'll sync up with a young Bruce Wayne. Will the Joker be a young boy too?

Looking to the Joker's origin story in DC Comics doesn't provide many clues. "Though many have been related, a definitive history of the Joker has never been established in the comics, and his true name has never been confirmed," says the Batman Wiki. It also mentions that in Detective Comic No. 168, it's revealed that the Joker used to be a character called the Red Hood. "In the story, the Red Hood falls into a vat of chemicals while escaping from Batman. He emerges with white skin, green hair and a bizarre grin," says the site.

What I think would be really interesting would be if the "Gotham" showrunners decided to link up the Joker's origin story with the new version of the tale recently set forth in Batman No. 38. FlickeringMyth.com reports that in this issue -- just released on January 28 -- it's revealed that the Joker was apparently granted immortality by the chemicals released by the same meteorite that gave Ra's al Ghul (now seen on the CW's "Arrow") his own death-cheating ability.

About the way the Joker feels about his revamped origin story -- especially as it relates to Batman -- comic creator Scott Snyder told IGN: "I'm older than Gotham. I'm the Pale Man that walks these shores, and I've seen all of it. I'm the immortal person here. You are nothing."

So, an immortal meteorite-infected Joker on "Gotham"? What do you think?