‘Gotham’ EP on Waiting Until the End to Unveil Batman: ‘We Wanted to Motivate His Arrival’

“We always felt in the beginning of Season 1 that the last shot would be a close-up of Batman,” John Stephens tells TheWrap

(Warning: This story contains spoilers from the series finale of Fox’s “Gotham”)

After five seasons, The Dark Knight finally rose on “Gotham,” but only for a second.

The hour-long series finale of Fox’s Batman prequel finally delivered on the moment the whole series was building toward, with a close-up of Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) standing on a Gotham rooftop fully in his Batsuit.

“We always felt in the beginning of Season 1 that the last shot would be a close-up of Batman,” executive producer John Stephens told TheWrap, though he added that, initially, the 10-year flash-forward would be relegated to the back part of the episode. “We wanted to motivate his arrival. We wanted to make sure the audience understood why Batman had to come to Gotham at this moment in time. And it didn’t feel like we could tell that within five minutes.”

Stephens said the lone Batman shot at the end, along with a few brief glimpses of his cape and cowl from behind (and a batarang), was always the plan. This was never going to be a full-on Batman episode.

“The show was never about Batman,” said Stephens. “We saw Bruce Wayne’s growth into becoming Batman, but Gordon was always the center of the show. We wanted to make sure we were still telling his story through the end of the series, where Batman was the inevitable result. In our point of view, if there had been no Jim Gordon there would’ve been no Batman.”

But that doesn’t mean it was easy to resist the urge: “Once you got it, you wait five years, you got the suit.”

Though its the finale, “The Beginning” almost feels like a pilot for a new show. The episode centers around Bruce Wayne’s return to Gotham and catches up with the main characters, including Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie), Jeremiah (Cameron Mongahan), Penguin (Robin Taylor) and Riddler (Cory Michael Smith). For most of the episode, Jeremiah is incapacitated and in prison along with Riddler, while Penguin is getting released.

It ends with all three being out of prison, Jeremiah (who finally goes by “J”) revealing that he was faking the whole thing, and chaos running all through Gotham. Gordon, now with his trademark mustache (until he shaves it off 10 minutes in), is planning to retire as Gotham’s police commissioner, but agrees to wait until Bruce comes back. Except that, at every turn, Bruce never shows up publicly.

For the finale, Selina Kyle was recast because Camren Bicondova, who played the character as a teenager throughout the series, was replaced by an older actress (Lili Simmons) for the 10-year flash-forward. Stephens explained the decision was Bicondova’s, saying she “had a feeling that she had played and honed that character as a teenager… She didn’t feel that she was going to bring what was needed to it.”