I have to admit that when I first heard there would be a Pennyworth spin-off, I thought, “meh.” While I enjoyed the depiction of the character in Fox’s Gotham, I usually viewed Alfred as the guy who helps sow up Bruce after intense battles, works on the bat suits, fixes the batmobile and other gadgets, and then thought, wait, these are actually some pretty large, important roles to fill. There’s no way Batman could actually exist without good ol’ Alfred (and he has to clean the ENTIRE mansion as well!) With that said, I began to reflect on the iteration of the character in some of the more recent films (fixing the Batsuit in BvS, taking over controls for the Batwing, etc.) as well as his previous training (as seen in Gotham) and his various interpretations in the comics (donning a shotgun and even the Batsuit itself!) and came to the conclusion that Alfred is a badass who usually floats behind the scenes! He does all the dirty work so Batman can do his butt-kicking for all to see! He is such a selfless, yet crucial character.
Mix this revelation (not sure why it took me so long) with the trailers for the new series, Pennyworth, and I am actually interested to see Alfred’s back story in more depth. The creators of Pennyworth (Bruno Heller and Danny Cannon) also feel that Alfred is underutilized and recently spoke with Collider on why this is the case:
“Collider: At what point, along the way, did Alfred Pennyworth become a character that you wanted to explore more, and in this manner?
BRUNO HELLER: That’s a good question. It was a combination of charms and blessings that we had this wonderful character. We both wanted to work in England, and the DC universe has got lots of wonderful superhuman, superheroic characters. There are very few real people that have iconic status, and Alfred Pennyworth is one of them. The really attractive thing about it is that he’s an underutilized and under spoken of character. He’s someone who’s been in the frame, but never really looked at. Because of his age, we could leap back into the past and tell a completely fresh origin story for a character that everyone knows. So, it ticked all of the boxes, in that way.
DANNY CANNON: His age was key because I don’t think there’s been a DC show that’s gone back into the past and been at a different period. The world that could be created, because it had to be a DC version of them, plus the fact that you have a young man, leaving the war and re-entering society, everything just turned us on quickly.”
A good deal of Batman characters have been explored, yet the ever-present Alfred has never really been one of them. This concept gave the creators a good deal of liberty to create what they feel could be a definitive background for the character. We did get a younger take on the butler in Gotham, but there was still plenty of years the creators can play with. Click on the source link below in order to see the interview with Collider in its entirety.
How do you feel about Alfred? Are you indifferent or are you curious to see what his possible backstory and connection to Thomas Wayne really is? Do you want to check out Pennyworth, or will you be taking a pass? Leave your thoughts in the usual spot, and thanks for reading!
Pennyworth can be seen on Sunday’s on Epix.
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