Paul Reubens, better known professionally as Pee-Wee Herman, is coming back to the Batman universe in FOX’s Gotham.
The announcement was made during the Gotham panel at New York City Comic-Con.
Reubens owes a thank you of sorts to the Bat franchise with his brief fall from grace. Pee-Wee Herman was world-renowned for his persona as a child-like entertainer with his specials, long-running children’s show and embracing that public image as the character. While he did act in a few projects prior under his real name, many didn’t know who was under the Pee-Wee persona until the arrest.
He re-appeared in a few projects and among them was helmed by Tim Burton, who directed the first of two Pee-Wee films, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure in 1985. Burton cast Reubens as Tucker Cobblebot, Oswald’s (Penguin) father in 1992’s Batman Returns. While it was a small role, it helped mark a comeback of sorts for Reubens since he never really ventured his career outside his Pee-Wee persona. Reubens has since returned to embrace the character who made him famous.
While Tucker, was an original character for the film, it is not known if the father will retain the same name for the TV show. Robin Lord Taylor, who plays Penguin on the show, made the announcement.
“We just found out that I do have a father and he will be showing up very soon and he’ll be played by none other than Paul Reubens, a.k.a Pee-Wee Herman, is playing my dad! What the hell! Oh my god!”
Penguin’s mother, Gertrud Kapelput (Miranda Cobblepot in the comics) is played by Carol Kane.
How will Penguin’s father play out? While Batman Returns portrays him as an embarrassed father who abandoned his child due to his deformities, will this incarnation have a more hands-on approach? If the performance of Julian Sands as Gerald Crane, the father of Jonathan “Scarecrow” Crane, had any indication to how parenting goes for these villains, then perhaps papa Penguin might have passed on some sociopathic traits to his son.
Gotham airs Mondays on FOX.