Gotham executive producers Bruno Heller and Danny Cannon are no strangers to offering new twists on classic DC Comics stories – their reinterpretation of Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon’s origin story ran for five successful seasons on FOX, keeping viewers guessing right to the end.Now, the duo are turning their attention to another key member of the Batfamily – Alfred Pennyworth, who has always been one of the most beloved (and often enigmatic) characters in Batman lore. In Epix’s new TV series, Pennyworth, Alfred (played with sly charm by Jack Bannon) takes center stage as a young man fresh out of the army – battle-scarred and trying to find his way in the world by starting his own security firm.

Alfred has no desire to follow in his father’s footsteps and become something as mundane as a butler (hindsight is 20/20, right?) and his penchant for trouble soon brings him into the orbit of Thomas Wayne, an American businessman who seems to attract danger just as easily as Alfred does. But just because Alfred and Thomas inhabit a world that will someday spawn Batman, Superman, and all manner of other caped crusaders, don’t expect Pennyworth to be a super-powered show – or even one as surreal and heightened as Gotham; it has a lot more in common with the likes of James Bond, Marvel’s Agent Carter, and even the grimy, crime-ridden world of Peaky Blinders.

“There’s this massive DC mythological universe populated with superheroes and these fantastic characters. One of the few real human beings in that world is Alfred Pennyworth,” Heller points out in IGN’s exclusive behind-the-scenes look at Pennyworth above. “This is very much the epic story of a life.”

Pennyworth Gallery

“It’s a side of the DC world we haven’t seen before,” says Emma Corrin, who plays Alfred’s girlfriend, Esme. “It’s intensely human.”

Paloma Faith, who plays the villainous Bet Sykes, agrees, “We don’t really need the supernatural in Pennyworth.”

“No one has heard any of these stories before – no one has seen when Batman’s mum met Batman’s dad,” Heller notes. “It gives us the chance to tell fantastic stories with a base in a real human being.”

You can rediscover Alfred’s origin story for yourself when Pennyworth premieres July 28 at 9 p.m. on Epix.

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