The Dark Knight has officially arrived on Gotham, and there could be no more fitting goodbye for TV’s most insane comic book show.
For over five years, Gotham has been telling the story of the city that built one of the greatest heroes of all time. We’ve gotten to know infamous villains like Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), The Riddler (Cory Michael Smith), and “J” (Cameron Monaghan), as well as Bruce’s (David Mazouz) makeshift family — Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie), Alfred (Sean Pertwee), and Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova).
After banishing Bane (Shane West) and Nyssa al Guhl (Jaime Murray) in the penultimate episode, Gotham‘s final hour jumped 10 years into the future to the opening of the new Wayne Enterprises building. As we caught up with all of our friends (and foes) in their future lives, whispers about the return of Bruce Wayne began to make their way through the city, but the only glimpses we got of our billionaire hero was when he was slipping through the shadows, already in his Batman cowl.
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While we hear Bruce’s voice through the Batman voice-changer at a couple of points, we don’t get a real shot of him until an all-important scene between him and grown-up Selina (Lili Simmons), signaling the beginning of the next chapter of their relationship. The final shot of the show is Bruce, in all his Batman glory, standing over the city, ready to protect it in a way he was never able to when he was a young teen.
TV Guide caught up with Gotham executive producer John Stephens about the final episode’s iconic moments — and a potential way to see these characters again.
What was the motivation behind not allowing anyone to see grown-up Bruce except off-screen? Was it to keep the intrigue or was there a casting reason?
John Stephens: The principle reason behind it was that the focus of the show was never Batman himself. The intention was rather to tell the story of the city that created Batman, and the city that created Batman is a city of certain people — Jim Gordon, Harvey Bullock, Penguin, Nygma, Lee Thompkins, Selina, Barbara, Alfred, and others. So it was important for us to stay true to that through to the end, and to tell the arrival of Batman as they would have experienced the arrival of Batman, as whispers, rumors, a mystery. If we’d shown him too early, he would have suddenly become the focus.
When Jim says at the end of the episode, “He’s a friend,” in your mind does any part of him know that it’s Bruce?
Stephens: I’m going to leave that up to the audience. In my mind, however, the answer is clear.
Bruce and Selina’s relationship has been a cornerstone of this series from the beginning. What did you want to make sure you accomplished and established about their future relationship in that final scene with them?
Stephens: I’m glad you asked about that because, to me, that is an incredibly important scene as it’s the transitional moment between the relationship they had as teenagers and the relationship they’ll have as adults. And to me the essential quality that is communicated is one of fated-ness. They are tied together as people; ten years apart has not changed that, but they will never be able to be together. And it was important that she didn’t turn around while Bruce talked, so that he could be dressed as Batman but speak to her in his own voice, telling us, I hope, that he will always be reaching out to her, but that the mask, his mission, will come between them.
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What did it mean to you after five years of doing this show to finally get to have the Dark Knight show up and protect Gotham?
Stephens: To me it meant that we had told our story properly, that we’d brought the city, and our characters, to a point where the one way forward was the arrival of the Dark Knight.
Is there any potential in the future to see a Gotham spin-off where Barbara Lee takes over as Batgirl?
Stephens: Oh man, I hope so.