Will the Real ‘Gotham’ Joker Please Stand Up?

Kim Taylor-Foster

Since Season 1, Gotham has been setting up Jerome Valeska to become the Joker. He has displayed all the hallmarks of the character — from his laugh and manic persona to the ‘Hahaha’ graffiti that accompanies him. He’s been killed off, reanimated and had his face detached, leaving him with a grotesque, stretched and stitched visage, alongside a signature crimson slash of a grin associated with the most famous of Batman villains.

But has it all been a red herring? According to David Mazouz, who plays Bruce Wayne in the show, it is. He told ComicBook.com that “Jerome is not the Joker”.

However, he did apparently confirm that we will see the “true” Joker this season, and went on to talk about the matter in a very enigmatic way. He called the upcoming Joker reveal one of the show’s “biggest shocks”.

“We’ve been asking ourselves this question, ‘Is Jerome the Joker?’” said Mazouz. “He obviously is acting a lot like the Joker. Is he the Joker? This is a perfect way to answer that, because we don’t want to say yes, but we don’t want to say no. We don’t want to say no because Jerome is so much like the Joker, so what they end up doing is kind of a great balanced way to answer that question and to have Jerome maybe involved in the creation of the Joker but have him not be the Joker.”

He finished up by saying: “[Jerome] is not the man that will have green hair and a pale face. He’s not that man.”

Yes, But Is Jerome The Joker?

Other characters have appeared as 'false' Jokers, like Lori Petty's Jeri.

Back in October, Bryan Wynbrandt, executive producer on the show, told ScreenRant: “Obviously, Jerome is our homage, He’s obviously not the Joker himself, although [he] clearly seems to be the impetus that eventually creates the Joker. The more that we see him, the more he carves out his own path I’d say. I wouldn’t say he becomes more the Joker, but the Jerome character continues to evolve.”

This seems to tally with what David Mazouz said, but doesn’t make things any clearer for fans of the show.

If Jerome doesn’t directly become the Joker, and yet has a part to play in his creation, it could mean that others will also have a role. The team behind the show have made a point of introducing a bunch of Joker-esque types throughout the series, so one or several of these could also have a bearing on the Joker’s real identity.

Mark Hamill Wades In

Actor Mark Hamill, voice of the animated Joker, has thrown the whole issue into further confusion, however, with a tweet he sent to Jerome actor Cameron Monaghan.

Some fans have taken this as confirmation that Jerome will, in actual fact, become the Joker — on the basis that if Mark Hamill says it’s so, then it is so. However, others are debating how much Hamill would actually know.

One thing is clear, Gotham fans love Jerome and the notion of him as the Joker. The reveal is due to take place at some point during the second half of Season 4. And the Gotham team is going to have to pull something truly special out of the bag if Valeska doesn’t become Batman’s most famous adversary.

Gotham Season 4 is currently airing in the US. Viewers in the UK are still awaiting news of the Season 4 premiere date.

Kim Taylor-Foster
Kim Taylor-Foster is Entertainment Editor for Fandom in the UK. She was raised on an unsteady diet of video nasties and violent action flicks.