Aside from Penguin and possibly Catwoman, few of the villains appearing on Gotham are exactly like their comic book counterparts. Whether their age has been adjusted or their occupation changed, the characters have been modified in a way that fits the narrative of the show. Luckily, another villain has been announced that will hopefully not require and of these modifications. Showrunner Bruno Heller recently revealed that Hugo Strange would pop up soon in the series, and his role will revolve around how Arkham Asylum was created.
The revolving door of Arkham is both a brilliant narrative device because it allows you to — you don’t have to kill people off, you can just put them in cold storage — but if you’re telling the story from the start you kind of have to explain, ‘What the f***? Why don’t you make that place a place people don’t escape from?’ We’re going to explain why it is the way it is and Hugo Strange is a big part of that.
Unlike most Batman villains, Strange doesn’t have a costumed identity, but he’s done just fine tormenting the Dark Knight over the years. His most notable aspects are creating hulking monster men and being one of the few individuals to have deduced Batman’s secret identity. The character was recently seen as the main antagonist in Batman: Arkham City, as well as the Bruce Timm animated short Batman: Strange Days.
Since Strange was sketchy long before Batman showed up, he’s certainly more deserving of an appearance than most of Batman’s rogues gallery. It also looks like rather than Arkham having been arounds for over a hundred years, it will have been constructed more recently. Considering that Strange rarely ever treats his patients so much as manipulates their condition, it certainly explains why the asylum is the most useless mental institution in all of history.
In addition, Heller revealed that Harvey Dent will eventually appear in Gotham, although rather than be seen as a classmate of young Bruce Wayne, he would be closer in age to James Gordon. Executive producer Danny Cannon also inferred that we may learn in the pilot how Mr. Freeze became involved in cryogenics, but also admitted that they being careful to save certain villains and supporting characters for future seasons.
Look, I made peace a while back that this show is going with the idea that these characters were headed on their villainous paths long before Batman showed up. Am I happy about that? Not really. Aside from Penguin, Strange and a few others, most of these villains (though they did have their mental issues) didn’t enter the life of crime until after the Caped Crusader made his debut. However, since Gotham is taking a Smallville-like approach with Batman’s history, viewers will have to get used to seeing these interpretations, for better or worse.