Paul Reubens will be returning to Gotham as Penguin’s father, 23 years after he played the character in Batman Returns — on Gotham in an upcoming episode, actor Robin Lord Taylor (who plays Penguin a.k.a. Oswald Cobblepot on the drama) announced at the show’s New York Comic Con panel Sunday afternoon. That’s right: Pee-wee Herman will be heading to the dark pre-Batman series.
“So we’re all familiar with Oswald’s mother, the fabulous, fabulous Carol Kane,” the actor said leading up to the news. “We don’t know a lot about his father… We just found out that I do have a father. And he will be showing up very soon, and he will be played by none other than Paul Reubens, a.k.a. Pee-wee Herman! He’s playing my dad! What! The! Hell!”
The actor was so excited actress Erin Richards (who plays Barbara on the show) grabbed his name card and fanned him with it while the audience cheered his enthusiasm.
Along with Richards and Taylor, actors Ben McKenzie, Michael Chiklis, Cory Michael Smith, Jessica Lucas, James Frain, and writer John Stephens spoke about the show’s second season, which centers on the supervillains, bringing an altered, crazier vibe to the show and moving away from the first season’s mob-centric, old school feel. “We wanted to trace the development of season 1 from old-time mobsters to trace the trajectory of the rise of the supervillains,” Stephens said. “We’ll be telling one long story over the 22 episodes, so you can’t miss one episode.”
Among the storylines this year is the introduction of Chiklis as Jim’s (McKenzie) new boss, Captain Nathaniel Barnes. “He’s a real wallflower,” Chiklis joked, as the audience had just seen a clip of him entering the precinct and firing officers with previous offenses. “Barnes comes in as a countermeasure to the villainy that is running amok in Gotham. He serves as a mentor to Ben’s character and also he’s trying to pull him out of the muck, because he’s sliding down that slippery slope.” Also new to the show: Lucas’ Tabitha and Frain’s Theo, siblings who join the ranks of the rogues gallery on the show. The pair talked Tabitha’s connection with Richards’ Barbara, while Frain, who has often played villains, poked fun at how playing another bad guy is “new territory” for him.
By the time the audience was allowed to line up to ask questions, fans nearly stampeded the two lines set up for them. It’s not hard to see why: Many were intent on figuring out if dead characters would be back. Luckily, Stephens threw a bone at one woman who asked about Jerome Valeska (Cameron Monaghan), a character most fans believed would become the Joker, saying, “If you watch the episodes closely, you’lll start seeing seeds of that story develop. It’s not the last you’ve seen of that character.”
Of course, the night went to Taylor, who capped off the Q&A with the final answer to a question from a fan wondering who he thought was the biggest villain in the world. “Donald Trump,” the actor replied, laughing as the audience cheered and the panel ended.
Gotham airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.