As Gotham prepares to reveal its final three episodes, one legendary Batman villain is finally making his debut. Shane West appeared earlier in Season 5 as Eduardo Durance, an old friend of Jim Gordon’s (Ben McKenzie) that supposedly died while trying to kill Gordon–but this is Gotham, after all, and he will be resurrected as Bane.
Yes, that Bane. The one who traditionally wore a lucha libre wrestling mask in the comics. Don’t expect to see that version of the character, though. On the show, West’s take on Bane looks at least partially inspired by Tom Hardy’s version in The Dark Knight Rises, while also adding some flourishes that fit right in with the weird world of Gotham.
As with all things on the show, though, this Bane is something of a remix of the character. “He straddles that line with us where he still is boots on the ground. You still understand where his abilities actually come from,” executive producer John Stephens told GameSpot at the TCA press tour. “The man is a master strategist. And also [this is] where his strength comes from. We were also able to reinvent him in a way that gives him a different spin than you see in the comics.”
A big piece of that reinvention is giving the character a personal connection to Gordon, which is not something that’s been featured in the comics. However, it is a piece of the puzzle that McKenzie was excited to play with.
“It’s fun to be able to take an iconic character like that and explore him a little more fully and also put him in a new context and start him off as a friend and partner of Jim, former colleague of his and yet quickly show their differences and allow their relationship to take its natural course,” the actor said. “It was nice to work with Shane, I’ve known him forever but I’ve never worked with him.”
Still, while everyone is seemingly thrilled with how Bane comes off on the series, the character’s introduction almost never happened. In fact, producers were denied when asking to use him in the past. “There are certain characters you ask for a lot. Sometimes you don’t get every character,” Stephens said. “And [Bane] was a character we were not allowed earlier on in the run of the show. And then [when] we got far enough away from The Dark Knight Rises, they’re like, ‘Okay. We think now you can actually use that character.’ When we finally got to the fifth season, which was when I remember [DC Entertainment’s vice president of creative affairs] Dan Evans made the call to us.”
Now fans just have to wait to see what kind of story Gotham plans to unroll with him in its final three episodes. Gotham airs Thursdays on Fox.