“Gotham” producers Danny Cannon and Bruno Heller are once again diving into the history of the DC universe, this time with the prequel series “Pennyworth” about Batman’s butler and mentor Alfred. But that’s where the similarities begin and end, the duo says.
“So much of what ‘Gotham’ was is what we did here,” Cannon told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour on Sunday. “It’s so much a story about how the world was different then, and how much will change in order to create what comes after.”
“I think it’s fascinating to say, ‘Why does he go to America? Why does he end up in Gotham? Why does he serve Thomas Wayne the way he does? Why is he a good mentor to the greatest hero of all time?'” Cannon said of the loyal manservant.
The series follows Bruce Wayne’s legendary butler, Alfred Pennyworth (Jack Bannon), a former British SAS soldier in his 20s, who forms a security company and goes to work with a young billionaire Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge). Paloma Faith and Jason Flemyng also star.
But where “Gotham” is a broadcast drama with a murderer’s row of famous Batman villains, “Pennyworth” is a much more stylized crime drama for the premium cable network Epix. “Pennyworth,” set in 1960s London, will instead take its cues from the period, using historical figures characters from British popular imagination like the Queen and Jack the Ripper, Heller said.
An older version of the character was played by Sean Pertwee on “Gotham” for five seasons, but fans shouldn’t expect any crossover between the two shows, Cannon and Heller said.
“They’re different shows … I think these things do stand alone,” Cannon said. “I think the DC audiences, what we’ve learned about, they’re begging for something new and different and mature.”
“It’s very much not a companion piece to ‘Gotham,'” added Heller. “It’s a different genre and different format.”