As Gotham Season 1 enters it's third act, rushing towards a season finale, the popular Fox series has decided to introduce the first seeds of the much anticipated Joker storyline. The Joker is unarguably the biggest, baddest, most iconic villain Batman has ever faced. And while we got to see glimpses of this character starting to take shape in last night's episode The Blind Fortune Teller, executive producer Bruno Heller has refused to confirm that the new character Jerome (Cameron Monaghan) is in fact the future Clown Prince. Now, in a new interview with E! Online, Bruno Heller teases that it may take another 7 or 8 years before the full-fledged Joker persona makes its appearance on Gotham.

Many believe Jerome is the Joker due to the maniacal laughing fit he broke into after admitting to Gordon that he was the one responsible for killing his own mother in last night's The Blind Fortune Teller episode. Bruno Heller hasn't been coy about the fact that this particular episode is indeed setting up the future Joker storyline. And while Jerome may not be The Joker, he may have ties to The Red Hood gang, which is finally being introduced in next week's episode simply titled Red Hood. It's possible that Jerome is connected to The Joker in a way we haven't yet foreseen. And it's possible that Gotham will stick to the original DC comics, which didn't see The Joker arrive on the scene until after Bruce Wayne became the Dark Knight. If that's the case, then we definitely have a long wait until the Joker puts on his iconic clown make-up to wreck havoc on Wayne's beloved city. About the whole Joker story arc, Bruno Heller explains:

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"I can tell you this is a long game plan and a long story that we are telling here. What I can promise you is this is not a bait-and-switch. This is not someone who is just a character who is going to disappear. This is not a red herring. It's the beginning of the story of how the Joker came to be, how the Joker was created, where he came from, who he is. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that Cameron Monaghan is the Joker. He might be. But like I say, this is a story that begins about seven or eight years before the actual Joker arrives on the scene in his fully-fledged persona. As we're telling with all of these characters, the origin story of that villain begins [with 'The Blind Fortune Teller']."

In the comic books that introduced master criminal Red Hood back in the 50s, the character later became The Joker. Over the years, there have been many iterations of that idea. Alan Moore's Batman: The Killing Joke brought an alternative spin to the Joker's origin story and identity before he became Red Hood. With the Red Hood gang about to make their first appearance on Gotham, Bruno Heller saw this as the right time to start setting up the Joker origin. He says:

"It just seemed like the right moment in the season to, as the season is moving towards its conclusion and as we are setting up for next season, this just seemed like the right moment. Early on, it would have been a mistake. We had other stories to tell and we wanted this season to be about the emergence of the Penguin and Gordon's rise. This appearance of Cameron is the beginning of the third act that will lead us toward the next chapter."

It's unclear at this point how substantial a role Cameron Monaghan will have as Jerome as the series continues into the future. And though Gotham Season 2 has already been announced, the series may not last the 7 or 8 years it takes for The Joker to fully mature and blossom into the deadly killer we know and love today. What do you think? Do you like the direction this is headed? Or would you rather see the Joker appear before Batman? It sounds like the arrival of both characters is being saved for the series end game, and its final episode.

B. Alan Orange at Movieweb
B. Alan Orange