So Jada Pinkett Smith is joining Gotham, Fox’s new Batman-Minus-Batman TV show. According to the description released by Warner Brothers, she’s playing Fish Mooney, a “sadistic gangster boss and nightclub owner” with “almost extra-sensory abilities to read people like an open book.” Officially, this is a wholly original character. But The Dark Knight Rises’ Miranda Tate was an “original character” too, and we all know that turned out. (Spoiler alert: She was Thanos the whole time.) So is Fish really “original”? Is she a new version of an old character? And either way, what will her role be in Gotham’s grander scheme? Four potentially baseless but enticing theories below:
1. She’ll be set up as Gotham’s Big Bad, but she’s actually just the Level Boss. Gotham has already cast Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot, who in the show’s pre-Batman era is just a low-level hood in Mooney’s gang. But Cobblepot will (probably) grow up to be the Penguin…and, as commenter MichaelSacal pointed out, “Penguins eat fish.” Easy money says that Mooney will be the main villain of season one, but will eventually suffer a hostile takeover from Cobblepot.
2. She will evolve into a new version of the villain Great White. A relatively recent addition to Batman’s rogues gallery, Warren White was introduced a little over a decade ago. Originally, he was a just a white-collar criminal nicknamed the Great White Shark for his antics – basically the comic book Jordan Belfort – but a stint in Arkham Asylum left him deformed and crazy, and running a huge criminal empire from behind bars. White and Mooney share aquatic nicknames, and assuming that the long game of Gotham is to show how a typical broken-down city evolves into a nightmare city, perhaps Mooney will spiral into insanity and become the sort of semi-inhuman villain that bedevils Batman.
3. “Almost extra-sensory abilities to read people like an open book.” This particular part of the official character description sticks out. Although Gotham appears to start in a vaguely realistic Year One universe, Fox’s Kevin Reilly explicitly stated that the show is ultimately aiming for the supervillains-in-costumes universe of the comic books. Could it be that “Fish Mooney” is actually a full-blown telepath? None of Batman’s major villains are telepathic, and it’s hard to imagine that Gotham will, like, dig down deep enough to turn Fish into a new version of The Synaptic Kid. (And I say that as someone who kinda believes the Great White theory.) But maybe Fish will be the first indication of a “new kind of villain” that Gordon and the GCPD will have to fight going forward.
4. She’s Catwoman’s mother. And if Gotham is a hit there will be a “Young Catwoman” spinoff starring Willow Smith.