Batman Prequel Coming to TV

Fox has a Commissioner Gordon show in the works

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ABC photo archives / Getty Images

Batman is summoned by Police Commissioner Gordon on the Batphone, on a 1966 episode of 'Batman'

Is there such a thing as too much Batman? Fox is hoping not.

Deadline reported late yesterday that, after a bidding war, the network has ordered the series Gotham, an origins tale for the Cape Crusader’s cop ally, Police Commissioner James Gordon. The show will take place before Gordon becomes commissioner, while he’s still fighting the city’s bad guys without the help of Bruce Wayne; developed by Warner Bros. TV and The Mentalist‘s Bruno Heller, the show is said to have been in the works for over a year.

Though Batman himself reportedly will not appear on Gotham, this is the second time in recent memory that the superhero has made news: in late August, the announcement that Ben Affleck had been cast to play him in the Man of Steel sequel drew some fans’ ire. It’s not the first example of potential overlap between a TV project and a movie focusing on the same superhero universe—Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the next Avengers movie may well do the same—and the network obviously thinks there’s plenty of Bat-appetite to go around, as they made the relatively unusual move of ordering the Gotham series without first ordering a pilot episode. (Coincidentally, Fox has also ordered a pilot of a Ben Affleck TV project, The Middle Man, which he’ll will direct and executive produce.)

(MOREBen Affleck as Batman: Seven Reasons Fans Are Unhappy)

So what do we know about James W. Gordon in his pre-Batman days?

The Batman comic books offer a variety of backstories for the character, who appeared on the first page of the first Batman. An earlier Police Commissioner James W. Gordon —nicknamed “Wildcat”—appeared in 1930s pulp novels, where it was Gordon himself who had to take justice into his hands and become The Whisperer, in order to deal with sabotage from a rival for the Commissioner job. (There’s some dispute among comics fans over whether Batman’s Gordon was merely named after his pulp predecessor or if he’s actually the same guy.)

In the DC comic-book universe, according to The Essential Batman Encyclopediahe married and had a son, Tony, as well as a daughter,  Barbara Gordon, would who become Batgirl. He’s a Chicago native, was a member of the Special Forces before joining the police and, after moving to Gotham but before becoming commissioner, had an affair with another detective, Sarah Essen.

As for what else there is to know about Gordon’s origin story, we’ll just have to stay tuned to his new Bat-channel.