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The Morbid Way Ben Aldridge Prepped To Play Thomas Wayne On Pennyworth - Exclusive

"Batman" fans could make a drinking game out of Thomas Wayne's many on-screen deaths. When it comes to movies or series about the Caped Crusader, they almost always begin the same way: Thomas and Martha Wayne are killed outside of the theater. Given how often we see Thomas die, it's only natural that fans would be itching to see him live.

Of course, the legacy of the Waynes is ever-present in most iterations of Batman's tale — whether it's the comics or on-screen media. Bruce often discovers things about his parents' lives after their deaths, and they even become major plot points occasionally. But "Pennyworth" brings fans on a journey to discover the origins of not only Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge), but especially everyone's favorite butler, Alfred Pennyworth (Jack Bannon).

"Pennyworth" invited Looper to the New York Comic Con press room, where we exclusively spoke with Aldridge about taking on this iconic character and the morbid way he prepared for his role as the often elusive Thomas Wayne.

Reinventing Thomas Wayne

It's no secret that we don't often get to see much of a live-action Thomas Wayne outside of his brutal death. On which comics or "Batman" films helped inform the direction of Ben Aldridge's portrayal and what he found most exciting about taking on the London of the 1960s and '70s, he said, "Once I was cast, both Jack [Bannon and I] were a bit like, 'Oh my goodness, we're playing these iconic characters. People are going to have expectations [of] us.'"

Yet "Pennyworth" is tackling completely new territory that sets it apart from previous "Batman"-adjacent content, and that's something that helped alleviate the actors' nerves. Aldridge added, "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."

Thomas Wayne's impending doom

Ben Aldridge's chosen method of preparation for becoming young Thomas Wayne is fairly morbid, but hey — if it works, it works. "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," Aldridge explained. "[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 [Heller] was like, 'Are you sure?' And I was like, 'Yes.'"

Though fans are quite familiar with the end of Thomas' journey, it still leaves plenty of room for Aldridge to make the character his own. "It is interesting to be playing someone and knowing the person they become but not knowing the history of how they got there," Aldridge added. "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."

Of course, Aldridge is up for the challenge of redefining what fans think they know about Thomas Wayne. He noted, "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."

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