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Gotham Set Pictures Seem To Reveal First Look At Full-Fledged Joker

The Joker is finally arriving in Gotham City — or is he?

After four seasons of suggestion and foreshadowing, it looks like Gotham is finally pulling the trigger on unveiling its full-fledged Joker. 

Since the end of the show's first season, Cameron Monaghan's Jerome Valeska has been the proto-Joker of Gotham's rogues' gallery. Maniacal and unpredictable, his madman character has showed off abundant similarities to the Clown Prince of Crime, and the series has dropped numerous coy hints about his identity.

So far, while the show has had a lot of fun referring to Jerome as joker, it's deliberately shied away from confirming the character as being the Joker. Up until now, he's just been Joker-esque, with the is he/isn't he game being totally in keeping with the comic book character's varied, oft-contradictory origins. As the show has advanced and Jerome's peculiar condition has deteriorated, he's been mutating more and more into the twisted identity of the famed arch-villain.

Now, the moment that fans have been waiting for is finally on the verge of arriving... maybe.

New set photos posted to the Twitter accounts GothamHub and CMonaghanRussia appear to show Monaghan on set going full clown prince, decked out in white makeup and the Joker's distinctive purple. Check out the shots for yourself in the posts below.

So, we're done here, right? The Joker has arrived. Oh, would that it were so simple.

During the series' early seasons, Gotham executive producer Ken Woodruff took pains to specify that Jerome was intended to be "the inspiration for" the Joker, while also leaving open the possibility that he could indeed be the real deal. 

"Jerome was always supposed to be the inspiration for the Joker," Woodruff said. "Maybe he'll go through an evolution that'll end up becoming the actual Joker that we all know. The whole idea was that he was supposed to be the inspiration for it."

Additionally, in a 2015 interview with Deadline, executive producer Bruno Heller was explicit in his characterization of Jerome as "the mother and father of the Joker." 

"He is the seed of the Joker," Heller said.

It was an issue that seemed to be mostly settled until this February, when Gotham star David Mazouz revived the topic during an interview with Comic BookThere, Mazouz also insisted that Jerome does not become the Joker.

"We've been asking ourselves this question, 'Is Jerome the Joker? He obviously is acting a lot like the Joker. Is he the Joker?' This is a perfect way to answer that, because we don't want to say yes, but we don't want to say no," Mazouz said of the coming reveal.

"We don't want to say no because Jerome is so much like the Joker, so what they end up doing is kind of a great balanced way to answer that question and to have Jerome maybe be involved in the creation of the Joker but have him not be the Joker."

There's definitely a thou-dost-protest-too-much quality to all of these denials, and if the ambiguity is meant to generate buzz, it's certainly working. As of now, the cast and crew swears Jerome is not the Joker; according to these photos, Jerome has never looked more like the Joker. C'est la vie.

As of this posting, Gotham is currently preparing to air the 15th episode of its 22-episode fourth season, meaning there's still plenty of time for a "real" Joker to emerge, should that still be the plan this year. 

It's worth pointing out that the 21st episode of the series will reportedly be titled "One Bad Day", a reference to one of the Joker's most famous quotes. As the character said in one of his most critically-praised origin stories, The Killing Joke, "All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy."

Gotham airs new episodes on Fox on Thursdays at 8/7c.