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Gotham News Roundup: Two More Villains, “Ivy Pepper” Explained, And Insight Into The Riddler’s Psyche

Pamela Isley 5ever <333

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It looks like Bruno Heller’s trying to beat the Comic-Con rush by providing some more information about Fox’s Gotham, including two new characters to be added to season one. Holy oversaturated market for eventual villainy, Batman! (Spoilers for the series to follow, of course.)

First up, did you think Gotham was lacking in evil? You are probably in the minority, but you’re also in luck: they’re reportedly adding two more rogues to the gallery: Harvey Dent, who will one day take on the role of Two Face, and Dr. Hugo Strange. Anybody who’s seen Spiderman 3 is still going to be just a little wary of too many bad guys spoiling the Batbroth, but as technically productive members of society long before turning to a life of crime and/or mad science, Dent and Strange could show up here and there it shouldn’t be so… well, bad. Pun not intended.

If you’re like me, though, then you’re probably less concerned about the amount of villains than you are by a single ridiculous name: Ivy Pepper. Seriously, just typing it fuels me with an irrational, unquellable rage that I have no right experiencing over something so trivial. Heller had an answer for that change in an interview with IGN, and it’s… well, it’s an answer:

If you just re-tell stories exactly as they’ve been told before, whilst you’re being true to the created mythology, you’re not really adding anything to it. So you have to find ways of finding more. And in this case, we’ve set up a situation in which Ivy Pepper, her mom is sick, her dad is dead… She’s going to go to the orphanage. And she’s a nice young girl; relatively undamaged. And she will find people to adopt her. And then we will start on the Poison Ivy story that people are familiar with.

Okay now, wait a second, Gotham. I don’t hate the tragic orphan backstory (what would a Batman show be without ’em?) and you make a very good point about adding to the mythology in a meaningful way, but who in the heck changes a six-year-old kid’s first name upon adoption? She’s not a cat, you don’t get to just start calling her something different with the hope that it’ll stick. Sure, now the character has a concrete explanation for the name “Poison Ivy” down the line, but did we really need a reason for that other than “she really loves the crap outta plants and also wants to murder you?” That felt like a pretty good reason.

Speaking of “down the line,” Gotham‘s writers and actors have assured fans that the villain roll-out will be slow and gradual, and not everyone will turn evil all at once—specifically so they can “respond to what’s working and what isn’t” over the course of the series, according to Heller.

Cory Michael Smith, who plays the man who would be Riddler, told KSiteTV more about his own role in the series; stuff doesn’t “heat up” for him until about midseason, and even then he won’t be the nefarious jumpsuit and/or weird-blazer wearing mastermind we know and love just yet:

This first season’s going to be about the rise of the Penguin. But I’m starting from a place of being with the Gotham City Police Department, being a good guy…. my intentions are completely positive. I’m trying to contribute, and it’s starting from the beginning, that Harvey Bullock is being a little rude, mistreating me… I’m underappreciated; I’m misunderstood, and I don’t understand why people don’t understand me. And that’s where I’m coming from.

The lovely thing about the Riddler is he’s not someone that is a sadist; he doesn’t hurt people. In the history of all the comics, he’s not someone that’s trying to harm people, necessarily. What he does is he sets up tricks to make people be as smart as him. “Prove you’re as smart as me. Figure this out. I’m smarter than you. You don’t understand that. Try to figure this out. If you don’t get it, something terrible is going to happen. I don’t want it to happen, you don’t want it to happen, so figure it out.” So his whole thing is about being misunderstood, mistreated, underappreciated. He just wants people to understand how smart he is, and that he can contribute.

Not so sure that I buy the “Riddler’s not a sadist” thing on its face, though admittedly he’s no Victor Zsasz—and don’t get any ideas there, Gotham! Save him for later!—but other than that it really seems like Smith has a fantastic handle on what makes the Riddler so fascinating.

If everybody else is similarly in-sync with the rogues they’re playing, then maybe I can overlook the Ivy thing. Maybe. But you’re on thin ice, Gotham. And again, no funny Mr. Freeze ideas. Or Joker ones, either, speaking of funny. You’ve got time to—argh, no Calendar Man either! You know what? I think maybe Batman just had too many pun-based villains. That might be the problem right there.

(via i09 here and here)

Previously in Gotham

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