To be fair, this is hardly “news” (sorry, boss!). It’s just one of those things that has been simmering in the background of the entertainment news cycle for months. The sort of thing your eyes just pass right over because really? REALLY? No. It can’t be. Who would do that? And also why? So that was why it came as a surprise to me when I read that Polly Walker (the delicious Atia from Rome) had been cast in the upcoming Epix drama Pennyworth. The one about a young Alfred Pennyworth, in the years before he became Batman’s trusty butler.
WAIT, WHAT? WHO WOULD DO THAT AND ALSO WHY? I mean, look — I reviewed Teen Titans GO! To The Movies this summer, and I still remember the premise on which the entire plot hinges: That DC is producing a whole extended universe of Batman spinoffs and Robin wants to know why he’s being overlooked. They’re making movies about the Batmobile! And the utility belt! AND EVEN ALFRED! So why not Batman’s sidekick? It made for a funny meta gag about Hollywood’s tendency to wring the cash potential out of anything by turning it into a “universe”-style franchise, and also a suitable hook to hang the rest of the film’s zany plot from. So while it felt truth-ish, I didn’t expect it to be, ya know, REALLY REAL.
But 2018 gonna 2018, so here we are. Bruno Heller, creator of The Mentalist, Rome, and that other Batman origin series, Gotham, is the mind behind Pennyworth. Which apparently is NOT a prequel to Gotham, because that would just be silly. The 10-episode drama is being developed for Epix and will be set in London during the 1960s. Alfred Pennyworth (played by Jack Bannon) is a 20-something former British SAS soldier who forms his own security company while struggling to reconcile the sweet summer child he used to be with the ruthless killer he’s become. Or something. Not sure how any of that explains how he gets involved with the exciting world of butlering, but it WILL explain how he ends up working for Thomas Wayne, a young billionaire who has yet to father a bat…man.
Oh, and Polly Walker is playing a dominatrix.
Anyway, no word yet on when the utility belt will get its shot at stardom, but I’m anticipating we’ll hear about the Batmobile’s origin webseries any day now. You know, the one that explores the car’s rough-and-tumble early days as a taxi in ’70s Las Vegas or whatever.
Header Image Source: DC Comics