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Ben Aldridge And Jack Bannon Talk Pennyworth Season 3 And Batman Comics - Exclusive Interview

Season 3 of "Pennyworth" is finally here, bringing the characters into the '70s. With a dash of horror elements and even more homages to the Batman universe, it's a whole new world for the characters and fans alike. Batman fans have seen more than a few iterations of Alfred Pennyworth throughout the decades of films and TV shows — yet Jack Bannon gives the character a fresh perspective and insight into how Pennyworth became the no-nonsense butler fans have come to know and love. Bannon's other credits include "Endeavour," "Medici," and "The Imitation Game."

Meanwhile, Ben Aldridge is fleshing out Thomas Wayne — a character we've seen little development of onscreen outside of his many deaths. Before "Pennyworth," Aldridge had roles in "Reign," "Fleabag," and "Toast."

HBO Max invited Looper to the "Pennyworth" press room at New York Comic Con, where we exclusively spoke to Bannon and Aldridge about Season 3 of "Pennyworth," the inspirations for their characters, dream villains for the show, and comic storylines.

The many deaths of Thomas Wayne

We don't often get to see much of a live-action Thomas Wayne outside of his brutal death. What, if any, comics or "Batman" films helped inform your direction? And what's most exciting about taking on 1960s and '70s London?

Ben Aldridge: Once I was cast, both Jack [and I] were a bit like, "Oh my goodness, we're playing these iconic characters. People are going to have expectations [of] us." Then we were quickly comforted by realizing that we [were] playing them and inventing them alongside Bruno [Heller] pre the comic lore. So no one can turn around ... They can have opinions, but they can't turn around and be like, "You're wrong." So that was quite a relief, but very exciting as well.

I watched every incarnation of his death that's on camera, from cartoons to the more recent films and stuff, to see what existed of him so far. [I] tried to read around personality traits that he has. The mustache is in there, because in the comic books, he was depicted with a mustache, so I wanted to do that. Bruno was like, "Are you sure?" And I was like, "Yes."

It is interesting to be playing someone and knowing the person they become but not knowing the history of how they got there. Bruno has been brilliant at inventing the whole CIA element to him, the spy element to him, [and] his moral compass that's always challenged throughout the three seasons.

... It's cool to join something that has a legendary status and to hope that you're going to add to it in a creative way.

Speaking of that history, [are] there [any flashbacks or storylines from Thomas' days in] the "Batman" comics that you'd love to touch on [in the show]?

Aldridge: I have been trying to pitch "Flashpoint," as in me being Batman. They're not going to do it. Also, I think in one of the comics, there's a scene where Thomas goes to a fancy-dress party dressed as a bat, which I thought could be cool. It's way too on the nose.

What I like about what we do is we are looking at the personality traits of Martha, Thomas, and Alfred that come together to raise Bruce, basically. You've got the radical vigilante maverick of Martha — the heart for justice. Then you've got this moral, scrupulous, intelligent, neurotic father in Thomas. We're always looking ahead to what it becomes.

The path to Alfred Pennyworth

[Jack], are there any classic "Batman" villains or heroes that you'd love to cameo on the show, even if it's just them passing?

Jack Bannon: I'd like to see the Joker. That would be great. But the great thing about "Pennyworth" is we can pick from normal literature or anything and blend real-life villains or comic-book villains. But the Joker would be good for me.

What has been the most rewarding about giving such an underutilized character an epic backstory? What weight does it hold for you and the "Batman" fandom at large?

Bannon: The great thing about it is that everybody loves Bruce Wayne. Everybody loves Batman and Alfred's relationship with him, but we don't know how Alfred knows all this stuff, how he's so wise. This series explores that.

We've seen a ton of aged-up Alfreds throughout the years of "Batman" movies, shows, and comics. Which Alfred impacted you the most? And what did you want to do to create your own new iteration of this beloved character?

Bannon: For me, Michael Caine was the big one because I loved those films. Also, he was the one that said, "I'll play a butler as long as he's ex-SAS." So he gave us that bit of the story, which [our show] explores. In terms of creating, putting our own spin on it, because way before any of the comics and everything like that, Bruno [Heller's] script was so good that we've never really seen a DC London and that kind of thing, so that was our spin.

[Can] you sum up Season 3 in three words?

Bannon: Psychedelic, sexy, colorful.

New episodes of "Pennyworth" stream Thursdays on HBO Max.

This interview has been edited for clarity.