So DC Entertainment has registered a trademark for the name Pennyworth, for a “production of live-action, dramatic comedy television series”. Yes, DC seems to be at least thinking about giving Bruce Wayne’s butler/thug Alfred his own series. WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING.
Let’s ignore the fact that Alfred Pennyworth is a goddamn psychopath and concentrate on how baffling this is merely in terms of Gotham. Yes, Alfred and Bruce Wayne are pretty minor characters, so technically it would be easy to drop them from the narrative. But there’s something incredibly bizarre about a Batman prequel that doesn’t even include Bruce Wayne.
That is, of course, assuming that Bruce Wayne will be accompanying Alfred to his new series, which I don’t think we can accept that as a given. The spin-off that makes the most sense would be for Bruce Wayne to go around the world to train to become Batman, with Alfred accompanying him (which is of course not what happened in the comics), but this would hardly be the Gotham universe’s most egregious reinterpretation of Bat-canon).
But if that’s the case, why is it called Pennyworth and not… well, something about the kid who’s getting ready to become Batman? By calling it Pennyworth, clearly Pennyworth is the focus, which seems like a storytelling impossibility if he’s still butlering for Bruce. Is there really going to be a show just about Alfred Pennyworth? The only way I can see this making sense is if Bruce leaves to start his Batman training, and the show is about Alfred chasing his charge all over the world, Carmen San Diego-style, getting into scrapes and murdering people as he sees fit. (I guess it could also be a prequel to Gotham, which sounds terrible even before you realise it’d be a prequel to a prequel.)
This actually brings us to the most important point here, which is that Gotham‘s Alfred is a psychopath. This is not unimportant. If he’s going to star in a show, the show would then be about a terrifying murderer who has no qualms punching children he doesn’t like; he’d be like Dexter, except without the self-awareness that being a serial killer is bad. (Seriously, Alfred talked Bruce into letting him murder the suspected killer of the Waynes in a recent episode.) How is that possibly a sustainable TV series?
I don’t know. I can’t imagine DC does either. About the only thing I do know is that every time I think Gotham can’t get any crazier, it proves me wrong.