When Gotham gets its mitts on heroes and villains originating from the comic books, the writers are guaranteed to twist the characters’ stories up to keep viewers on their toes. The same will hold true for the highly anticipated debut of the iconic baddie Bane, who was finally confirmed to be portrayed by ER vet Shane West. Bane’s story won’t be quite as familiar as comic fans are ready for, so let’s look at what’s changing.
When Shane West is first seen on the streets of Gotham City in the time-jumped aftermath of the No Man’s Land bombings — or seen in the sewers or seen blowing up an office building or whatever he’s up to — fans will be witnessing a villain whose origin story is not what we’re familiar with. Speaking to audiences at New York Comic Con, Gotham executive producer and showrunner John Stephens had this to say:
[West’s character] will appear befodre he became Bane. And we tied it to Jim’s backstory. Clearly it’s different than canon.
Anyone familiar with Bane knows about his particularly disturbing childhood, as laid out in the “Knightfall” arc. His father, Edmund “King Snake” Dorrance, had escaped prison, and it was agreed his young son would be forced to serve the rest of that sentence. He was later used as a test subject for the mysterious drug Venom, which both gave him superhuman strength and also threatened to destroy him. It seems that this will play out a little differently in Gotham‘s live-action universe, however.
If Bane’s existence and/or his rise to super-villainy can be tied back to Jim Gordon, then what’s the implication there? Was Jim responsible for a life-changing arrest? Did Jim have anything to do with the creation of any mysterious drugs that turn people into veiny-muscled monsters? Because this is Gotham, I probably wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Bane’s original last name was “Gordon” or “Wayne” or something.
Beyond his imprisoned early days, Bane is one of the most intimidating and memorable comic book villains for doing what must have seemed impossible to Gotham City’s underworld denizens: he broke Batman. More specifically, he broke Batman’s back across his knee in a magnificently devastating sequence.
For Gotham, though, it won’t be the costumed billionaire that will face such crippling injuries. Instead, it will be another of Bruce’s loved ones who gets attacked. Sean Pertwee, who portrayed the dutiful and highly skilled Alfred Pennyworth, admitted to the NYCC crowd that his beloved butler will be the one on the receiving end of Bane’s violent actions. In his words:
We have an altercation. I get my back broken.
Doesn’t need to be more complicated than that to make for quite the shocking and character-altering twist. Granted, it might have been morally sketchy to show Bane breaking the back of teenaged David Mazouz on television, even if the sequence was edited to remove the most visually disturbing bits. But we’ve seen Alfred jump into the shit before to keep Bruce safe, even when Bruce was being a Ra’s-influenced douchebag, so there’s no one better equipped, mentally or physically, to take on one of Batman’s harshest injuries from the source material.
Despite this new information we have to chew on, not to mention all the other wacky updates we’ve heard, Gotham still doesn’t have a premiere date set for Season 5, which will arrive on Fox at some point in early 2019, after Bruce’s new Batcave has been completed. To see what other new and returning shows will be debuting soon, head to our fall premiere schedule.