Yet another first look portrait has been released for the upcoming Fox series Gotham, and the subject is none other than Oswald Cobblepot – also known as the Penguin. In this prequel series, we will see a younger version of the Penguin, long before his ascent to the level of dangerous crime boss. If the first look picture is any indication, we anticipate it will be quite an interesting journey.
In Gotham, Oswald Cobblepot (played by Robin Lord Taylor) will be a member of a gang led by Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith). According to TVLine‘s Matt Mitovich, Cobblepot will be “a low-level psychopath… concealing his sadistic lust for power behind an exquisitely polite (and polished) demeanor.” It sounds like a dark and intriguing version of the Penguin.
The Penguin, like many of Batman‘s rogues gallery of villains, has been brought to the big and small screens many times before. Damaged (the details – or lack thereof – of his painful past varies from version to version), brilliant, and violent, the Penguin has long been one of the main opponents of Batman. Played with special panache by Danny DeVito in Batman Returns (1992), the Penguin was presented as deformed, demented, and lecherous, but was ultimately a tragic figure. In Batman: The Animated Series, Oswald Cobblepot (voiced by Paul Williams) was a businessman (if a shady one) who exuded upper crust charm and often spoke in clipped alliteration. And, of course, we mustn’t forget the exquisite silliness of the 1960’s Batman TV show in which the Penguin (Burgess Meredith) spoke around the cigarette holder permanently jammed into his mouth and laughed a bit like a duck.
Described as “sadistic” and “a psychopath,” Robin Lord Taylor certainly looks the part with his ruffled hair and slightly crazed expression. At this time not much is known about how the writers of Gotham will handle the characters and what new spins they might put on the familiar and often-reimagined villains. I suppose only time will tell whether Taylor fits the bill (no pun intended). I can’t wait to see his take on the character.
With the release of each new first look photo, the world of Gotham grows a little clearer, and I grow more excited. One of the wonderful things about comic book characters is their elasticity – they can be reimagined and given new back stories and placed into a limitless variety of situations, creating an infinite amount of storytelling potential. The characters of the Batman universe are characters without limits; they can be reinterpreted again and again and never grow stale. I look forward to another adaptation of the Batman story and a fresh and different take on the Penguin. Gotham looks like it could be quite a ride.
Gotham will air on Fox in the fall of 2014.