This past Sunday was the debut of EPIX’s Batman prequel series Pennyworth starring Jack Bannon as a young Alfred Pennyworth and Ben Aldridge as a young Thomas Wayne. It’s an interesting story because we know where both of these characters end up in the Batman mythos. Thomas Wayne along with his wife Martha end up tragically shot in an ally by Joe Chill, leaving a young Bruce Wayne only with the family butler, Alfred Pennyworth to watch over him as he grows up to become the Batman. But where did that relationship between Alfred and Thomas start? Were they always friends?
These are questions that executive producers Bruno Heller and Danny Cannon hope to answer in Pennyworth. In the meantime LRMOnline had the opportunity to talk with both Bannon and Aldridge in roundtable interviews at San Diego Comic Con a few weeks ago about the the relationship between Wayne and Pennyworth in the series.
Their relationship starts by chance when Wayne’s sister is at a nightclub where Alfred works. When Alfred assists Wayne in retrieving his sister, they exchange information and their journey begins. But their relationship gets off to a rocky start and it seems to be maintained by mutual needs from one another.
“Their relationship in the first season is, they are not mates really, Alfred doesn’t really like him to begin with. But they are thrown in together. I always saw it as two tigers circling each other, there is a mutual intrigue, they are scoping each other out,” said Bannon “They posses something each other needs. So Thomas has money and status and all these things, that Alfred as a lowly doorman/bouncer at this time needs to get his business off the ground and get away from that. Ben hates it when I say this but, Thomas is a wimp, he needs Alfred’s army skills to save the day really. As much as they try to get away from each other they are constantly drawn back together.”
Aldridge also commented about the their characters intrigue for one another, even using the predators circling each other example in his description. “It’s not like Starsky & Hutch, it’s not buddy buddy. They need something from each other or definitely Thomas needs something from Alfred. As I said he is a fish out of water in London and he is working a slightly dangerous world and he needs protection and he needs Alfred’s smarts and street wise know how to kind of navigate himself through this dangerous landscape”, said Aldridge. “Alfred isn’t very interested in Thomas, but Thomas sees him as a great asset and whats to try and involve him in his work and it’s kind of Thomas stalking Alfred and trying to get him to come and work for him and he does it in various different ways. But Alfred is quite reluctant is quite suspicious and rightly really because I think along with the audience the other characters of the show don’t know who Thomas is or who he is working for or whether he is good or whether he is bad, so they are quite weary of each other. They are like two sharks circling each other.”
It will be interesting to see throughout the first season how their relationship grows. Aldridge mentioned that during these episodes we will get tiny elements of their friendship start to appear, but that mostly we will see them trying to size each other up. As a Batman fan this is a part of his story that we rarely get to see so I recommend giving it a chance, even if it does require an EPIX subscription.
If you’ve seen Pennyworth, what were your thoughts on the first episode? Let us know in the comment section below!
EPIX’s Pennyworth‘s pilot episode can be seen now on their streaming service, with new episodes every Sunday.