Although the creators of Smallville famously used "No tights, no flights" as a guiding mantra, the producers of Gotham aren't quite as definitive when it comes to the prospects for a young Bruce Wayne becoming Batman.
The Fox drama set the orphan on that path in the third season, as Bruce (played by 16-year-old David Mazouz) trained -- albeit unwillingly -- under the supervision of the mysterious Sensei of the Court of Owls. In the season finale, a brainwashed Bruce stabbed Alfred Pennyworth at the urging of Ra's al Ghul, an act that allowed him to break free of his conditioning. But it was the words of a hospitalized Alfred that made Bruce realize his true calling: “Find something you really care about, and you protect it at all costs, and when you find it, you’ll never be lost again.”
In the final moments of the finale, Bruce dons a crude costume and saves a family from a mugger in a callback to his own experience in the series debut in 2014. With Season 4, which begins tonight with the appropriately titled arc "A Dark Knight," Bruce ups his game, and sets out to become the masked protector of Gotham City, with some assistance from Alfred and Lucius Fox, the latter of whom equips him with custom body armor (at least for starters).
With that, it seems as if many of the foundational elements of the Batman mythos are in place. But will Gotham actually thrust Bruce Wayne into the iconic cape and cowl?
"We wanted to have Bruce take a couple bigger steps towards becoming Batman," executive producer John Stephens told CBR. "We’re not going to get there, obviously, in this season, or probably the show. But, we wanted him to do things where the audience could look at him and say, 'Oh, I see that’s where that piece of the Batman myth came from.' I think we do that over the course of this year. A couple of big pieces of that personality get put into place. And, also, you want to do it an unexpected way."
"The biggest thing motivating him at the beginning of the year is the knowledge of Ra’s al Ghul being out there, perhaps in Gotham," he continued. "Bruce feels he needs to prepare himself for the day that Ra’s actually makes a move against him. That motivates him into taking a more active 'vigilante' position in Gotham. While Bruce is doing that, he actually starts to see he physically has an effect on the city itself, apart from whatever Ra’s might be doing, and that it feels to him like he’s somehow making up for the murder of his parents. It starts to make Bruce think, 'Hey, maybe this is the right course for me to follow.'”
Returning Thursday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox, Gotham stars Ben McKenzie as James Gordon, Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock, David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne, Robin Lord Taylor as Penguin, Cameron Bicondova as Selina Kyle, Erin Richards as Barbara Kean and Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth.