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Gotham producer makes head-turning remark about the Joker

This post contains spoilers for Gotham season 4, episode 18.

One of Gotham's most enduring mysteries is seemingly refusing to die.

Gothamthe DC Comics-adapted series that focuses on a crime-ridden Gotham City before the rise of Batman, has spent four seasons teasing out the mysteries of its expansive hall of villains. 

No one has gotten more attention in the process than Jerome Valeska, the decidedly Joker-esque, nigh-unkillable jester of a bad guy played by Shameless' Cameron Monaghan. 

Since his initial appearances, the writers and producers of Gotham have teased out the true identity of Jerome, hinting that the character who seems in every way to be the Joker might not be the Joker after all.

"He is the seed of the Joker," was the way executive producer Bruno Heller put it in a 2015 interview with Deadline.

That mystery of the Joker's true identity was evidently solved at the tail end of the show's fourth season, with the introduction of a "good" twin brother to Jerome named Jeremiah, also played by Monaghan.

In the 18th episode of the season, "That's Entertainment", Jerome died by falling off of a building, only for his recently-introduced twin to end the episode succumbing to the effects of the Scarecrow's purple laughing gas. As the episode ended, it appeared Jeremiah was being set up as the new, true Joker.

But one comment from Gotham executive producer Danny Cannon has turned some heads in the wake of the mystery's apparent resolution, with some taking the remarks to mean that Jeremiah may not be the Joker after all.

It all stems from an interview Cannon gave to Comic Bookin which the writer was asked if Jeremiah would ever be referred to as "the Joker" on the show.

"I don't think so, no," Cannon replied. "This is an origin show about the beginnings of everything, therefore we just wanted to do the beginnings of why."

"[The Joker] is a way of thinking," Cannon continued. "It's more powerful than just one person. Therefore, that sparked the conversation of, if it's the opposite of good, the opposite of Bruce Wayne, is somebody who just wants to destroy, and wants to do it in a chaotic way, then that could be anyone, because you are literally just going the opposite of your main character and take it as far as you can go." 

"I don't think that's just one person," Cannon concluded. "I think that is a way of life, it's an ideology."

Cannon, who wrote the script for the episode that saw Jeremiah take his tragic turn toward chaotic evil, would seemingly know better than anybody what the scene was intended to convey. 

But despite the way some outlets are characterizing the remarks, it doesn't sound like Cannon is cuing up another Joker candidate to arrive in the series' fifth season. Rather, the writer seems to be saying that the character of Jeremiah simply won't go by that name. 

Despite that technicality, it seems safe to say that Jeremiah is the Joker of the series, for all intents and purposes. Much in the same way that David Mazouz' young Bruce Wayne will likely never go by "Batman" in the show, Jeremiah not being referred to as "the Joker" doesn't mean he's not still functionally that character. 

Additionally, the series has firmly set up Cannon's notion that "the Joker" is more of an idea than an actual person. In the comics on which Gotham is based, the Joker has no one true origin; In that sense, Jeremiah is just as much the Joker as Jerome was.

Fans fearing the rug being pulled out from under them yet again about this issue should rest easy, because it sounds like the Clown Prince of Crime has finally arrived, even if he hasn't quite figured out his brand game yet. This being Gotham, though, we're still not sure Jerome is actually dead, you know? We probably won't be sure of that until the show's been gone for 20 years.

New episodes of Gotham air on Fox on Thursday nights at 8pm ET.