He’s always there when you need him, hiding in the shadows, fighting off bad guys, cloaked in mystery and always doing the right thing.
That’s right, it’s Alfred the butler, Batman’s voice of reason and Gotham’s elder statesman.
And this time, he’s getting his own series/prequel/origins story. Young Alfred, maybe. It’s fairly safe to say it’s not going to focus on the butler picking up after Master Wayne and making him lobster thermidor.
What we do know is the show will be called Pennyworth, and it will be a 10 episode series all about Batman’s unwavering best friend and butler, Alfred Pennyworth.
According to Hollywood Reporter, the new series is not a Gotham spinoff but a new story that will explore Alfred’s history as a former British SAS soldier who set up a secret company and went to work with Thomas Wayne – Bruce’s billionaire father – in 1960s London.
Casting has not yet begun on Pennyworth, but Sean Pertwee, who plays Alfred on Gotham is not involved.
The new drama will be penned by Gotham showrunner Bruno Heller and producers Warner Horizon, and is based on the DC characters created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger. Also involved as executive producer is Danny Cannon, who worked with Heller on Gotham, and who will direct the plot as he did with Fox’s Batman origin story.
Michael Wright, president of Epix, the network that will air the new show, said:
As genuine fans of these classic DC characters, as well as the incredibly talented Bruno Heller and Danny Cannon, we couldn’t be more excited to make Epix the home of this series.
We can’t wait to work with Bruno and Danny – along with Peter Roth, Susan Rovner, Brett Paul and the team at Warner Horizon – on this fantastic origin story.
In a joint statement, Heller and Cannon said:
Michael and his colleagues have created the perfect venue for original storytelling, and all of us working on Pennyworth are thrilled to be on the Epix slate.
It’s sure to make interesting viewing as Alfred’s history has so far been largely unexplored on screen, despite the role always attracting a high calibre of actor, including the likes of Jeremy Irons, Michael Gough, Michael Caine and Ralph Fiennes.
Legal guardian of Bruce Wayne, ex-soldier, honouring a dying man’s final wish, whatever Alfred’s history, he has remained a constant force for good in the turbulent world of Batman.
Initially conceived as a bit of comic relief for the original Batman and Robin, Alfred has gone on to play housekeeper, surrogate father figure, business partner and, at times, getaway driver.
Alfred fulfils many roles in Batman’s life, so it’ll be great to see him take the lead on his own for once.
In the meantime I’m going to watch The Lego Batman Movie because it’s the best Batman movie of the lot.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.