After hearing the news that Gotham is coming to an end, you'd be forgiven for thinking that, barring an explicit ten-hour supercut showing the night Bruce Wayne was conceived, there's nowhere left to go for Batman prequels. You'd also be wrong, because we're now getting Pennyworth, a prequel set in 1960s London about Alfred the Butler and Thomas Wayne starting up a private security company. You remember that orphan with post-traumatic stress and bat-related issues? He's apparently the lighthearted part of this franchise.
It's not the worst premise they could have dreamed up, but it's not the most exciting either. We already know that Alfred is a badass, that Thomas Wayne is a rich bozo, and that this show isn't going to add anything to the mythos beyond pointlessly filling in the backgrounds of two characters who don't matter until one of them gets brutally murdered. So if we have to have a show focused on Alfred, why can't it be one where he's actually cool?
We've talked about this before, but there's a rejected movie script (by Frank Miller, no less) in which Bruce Wayne isn't a superfly badass with gadgets galore. He's just a street vigilante who wears a hockey mask, blows up criminals with homemade explosives, and drives a modified Lincoln Continental ... and is helped by "Little Al," a "gigantic, early middle-aged black man" who runs a repair shop and helps Bruce in his crusade, even gifting him a version of the Batcave.
Warner Bros. Pictures