Gotham season 5's Batman: Zero Year arc explained

Ian Sandwell
Photo credit: Digitalspy/ST

From Digital Spy

Warning: Contains spoilers for Gotham season four and potential spoilers for season five.

After season four brought The Killing Joke and No Man's Land to life, Gotham season five will adapt the Batman: Zero Year comic book as part of its final season.

"There's gonna be a little bit of Zero Year in there, you know as well. [You know] some of that stuff, especially with [Ed] Nygma. And there's another one but if I tell you what it is it really does spoil the story," executive producer John Stephens teased.

We might have to wait until season five to find out what that other comic-book arc is, but we can at least work out a bit of what the final season will be – and it seems to be building to a Batman vs The Riddler showdown.

If you're not familiar with it, Batman: Zero Year was created by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo and was part of The New 52, DC Comics's revamp and relaunch in 2011, with this arc intended to bring a fresh look at Batman's origins. Made up of three parts (Secret City, Dark City and Savage City), it followed Bruce Wayne's first months as Batman as he battled against The Riddler and Doctor Death.

We already know that Gotham's final season will see Bruce Wayne "go all the way" to becoming Batman, so Zero Year makes perfect sense as an inspiration for some of the final season, even if not all of it will come to the screen.

The fourth season ended with No Man's Land in full swing as Jeremiah Valeska (who's definitely NOT the Joker) blew up all the bridges in and out of Gotham City, with Bruce and Jim Gordon deciding to stay in the city to protect it from the villains. This means that the show's take on Zero Year will skip the start of it that sees Bruce returning to Gotham City and Batman believed to be dead.

Photo credit: Jeff Neumann

Instead, we think Gotham will likely pick mostly from parts two and three as Dark City ends with The Riddler flooding Gotham City after blowing up the city's reservoir, shortly after Bruce becomes Batman. Following the flood, The Riddler takes control of Gotham City and the final part of Zero Year, Savage City, follows Bruce's battle to win back the city from The Riddler, ending with Bruce deciding to protect the city as Batman, instead of living a normal life as Bruce.

This makes even more sense when you consider the position that Edward Nygma is in at the end of season four.

While we have seen Ed don the iconic green suit of The Riddler already on Gotham, it's fair to say he hasn't had the best luck as a supervillain. Being frozen by Penguin in season three led to him losing his superior intelligence and the season ended with Ed and Lee Thompkins fatally stabbing each other.

Photo credit: Jeff Neumann/FOX

Death is rarely permanent on Gotham though and the two bodies were taken to Hugo Strange so that he can work his magic. Given Strange's past record, this means that when Ed comes back, he'll probably be stronger than before, so the final season can also act as him becoming a perfect version of The Riddler, alongside Bruce's development into Batman.

With another storyline to deal with, we doubt that this confrontation between Batman and The Riddler will prove to be the show's final conflict, but it looks likely to act as a good midseason arc to lead into Gotham's endgame.

Gotham airs on FOX in the US and E4 in the UK, where seasons 1-3 are also available on demand via Netflix.

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