Editors' Choice

‘Pennyworth’ Casts Jack Bannon as Young Alfred in Unnecessary Prequel to ‘Gotham’

Steve Porter / October 15, 2018

Did you know the producers of Gotham are making a new show about Alfred Pennyworth? We didn’t. Honestly, our first question is, “Why?” Gotham, focusing on Detective James “Jim” Gordon, was already pushing the boundaries of what makes Batman an interesting subject for media—you know, The Batman. Pennyworth is another step removed, featuring the adventures of Alfred Pennyworth—you know, Batman’s butler—in the 1960s, years before Bruce Wayne’s birth.

Now, the show has found their ‘young Alfred.’ Jack Bannon (The Imitation Game) has been cast in the lead role as a former British SAS commando who forms a security company and works with young billionaire Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge), the future Bruce Wayne’s father. The show describes Bannon’s Pennyworth as “a boyishly handsome, cheerful, charming, clever young man from London. Honest, open-faced and witty; you’d never take him for an SAS killer.” Not bad. “Alfred doesn’t know how to reconcile the kind-hearted boy he used to be with the cold, calculated killer he was forced to become. He’s a man on the make, who doesn’t know what to make of himself yet.” We see what you did there.

Of course, nothing about this concept necessitates that it is a prequel to Gotham. In fact, without knowing that the main character will one day serve as the long-suffering butler to Bruce Wayne, the show’s premise sounds tired and clichéd. Knowing that the lead is Alfred Pennyworth, the show sounds…confusing. Alfred is a great character but, by this point, Alfred IS Batman.

Work on the series begins October 22 in the U.K. Produced by Bruno Heller and Danny Cannon, Pennyworth will air on Epix in 2019.