Even as the follow-up to Man of Steel introduces Ben Affleck’s iteration of Batman to the rebooted DC Comics universe, the Dark Knight’s ally in the Gotham City police department, Commissioner Gordon, lands his own series on FOX. IGN reports:
The series will focus on a young Detective James Gordon and “the villains that made Gotham famous.” Bruno Heller (Rome, The Mentalist) is writing the Commissioner Gordon, which will presumably launch during the 2014-2015 TV season. Gotham will take place before Gordon meets Batman, who will not be a part of the series.
The news comes as Marvel’s Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. premieres on ABC to rave reviews. Should we view this as the dawn of a new trend, superhero series without superheroes in them? Hopefully, the Gotham show proves to be more than a conceptual copycat.
Marvel Studios has done an incredible job managing its brand, maintaining an on-screen continuity which ties together its many separate franchises. In the wake of Marvel’s The Avengers’ tremendous box office success, it was apparent that Warner Bros. execs were eager to dust off the Justice League and get in on the superhero cash stream. The move to follow Man of Steel with a Batman/Superman team-up seems to indicate the studio’s desire to fast-track a DC Comics film dynasty to rival Marvel’s.
That said, the creative and business forces in play ought to note that development of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was anything but fast. The first film, Iron Man, was released in 2008. Marvel’s The Avengers came out four years later in 2012 after three other standalone films developing the rest of the team. Over that same period of time, Warner Bros. has rebooted both Batman and Superman, the latter twice! Now we have this new Batman themed television show which by all accounts shares no continuity with the new Batman/Superman film. It’s all a little confusing for those not paying rapt attention, and may betray a lack of strategic vision by the players involved.
If Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. succeeds, it will no doubt be attributable to its continuity within the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. While the show centers on normal heroes rather than the super variety, it nonetheless expands an established and popular world. Fans anticipating the next chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe can satiate themselves with episodes of S.H.I.E.L.D. If no such connection exists between the Man of Steel sequel and the forthcoming Gotham television show, both will have to stand on their own merits. While that’s not impossible, it certainly could be more difficult.