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|“||All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy.||„|
Jeremiah Valeska, also known as Xander Wilde and "The Joker" in some promotional media, is one of the main antagonists of the TV series Gotham, acting as the main antagonist of the final four episodes of Season 4 and one of the main antagonists of Season 5. He is Jerome Valeska's twin brother.
Along with Jerome, Jeremiah is inspired by the Batman supervillain The Joker, and contains elements of the character's personality and traits, such as his more calculating and intelligent nature, in contrast to Jerome's chaotic and insane persona.
He is portrayed by Cameron Monaghan, who also portrayed Jerome Valeska in the same franchise.
Jeremiah and Jerome were identical twins, and one day, their mother sent them both away, knowing that Jerome will be evil. Jeremiah becomes a highly skilled engineer during life, and he has a proxy working for him. However, he secretly plots revenge on Jerome, and he reads Jerome's lost diary, including every one of his plans to cause mayhem in Gotham. He also changes his identity to Xander Wilde, and wears a mask, in order to get his revenge on Jerome.
Birth of the Joker
Escaping Jerome Valeska
Jeremiah later sends his proxy Ecco to capture Jerome so he can be held inside a cage. Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock ask him to hand Jerome to the GCPD, but Jeremiah refuses since he would escape and come back. Jerome, however, has the proxy hypnotized and sends her to kill Jim Gordon and Harvey and to bring Jeremiah to him. Jeremiah is taken to his brother, who confronts him with Jervis Tetch and Jonathan Crane, and tells him that he will turn insane and then die. Jim Gordon, however, starts shooting Jerome, thus chasing him away, and saving Jeremiah. Jerome still promises to come after him and get revenge before fleeing.
Jerome later kidnaps Jeremiah and tries again to convince him that he is mad, claiming that it's in their blood. He gives Jeremiah a knife and dares Jeremiah to kill him. Jeremiah tries to do so, but is kicked on the head by Jerome, who then tries to kill him.
Later, Jerome dies, and Jeremiah thanks Bruce Wayne, Jim and Harvey for helping him save the city. He gets a gift from The Wayne Enterprises, which actually contains one of Jerome's traps. The trap sprays laughing gas on Jeremiah, who has his apparent hidden insanity and psychopathic tendencies unleashed by Jerome. As Jeremiah's skin becomes white and his lips become red, Jerome via audio recording tells his brother to continue his legacy and go have some "fun".
Jeremiah sends Ecco to Jerome's grave, where his brother's followers were mourning his death. Ecco plays them a fake message from Jerome, telling them to dig up his body and throw a wake at the GCPD. Jeremiah later reveals to Bruce that he was building a new generator, able to control all of Gotham's sources of electricity. He also revealed Bruce that Jerome had used the laughing gas on him, and that he now sees Jerome everywhere. Bruce offers to take Jeremiah to the graveyard, to show him that Jerome is dead.
Meanwhile, a video message is sent to the GCPD, supposedly featuring Jerome announcing his plans for his wake. The cult members storm the precinct, but the police soon take back control. Gordon travels to Jeremiah's bunker where he finds another recording, and is held at gunpoint by Ecco.
Bruce and Jeremiah arrive at the graveyard, only to find Jerome's grave dug up. Jeremiah flees, screaming that Jerome is still alive. He then questions Bruce's loyalty to him as a true friend. He then takes Bruce as a hostage, claiming to think that Bruce is actually Jerome himself. He starts fighting Bruce in the cemetery.
Gordon manages to subdue Ecco and watches the end of the video. Jerome peels off his makeup, revealing himself to be Jeremiah in disguise. He explains that the generator is also a bomb and it begins to glow red. Gordon narrowly escapes.
After a rough battle between Bruce and Jeremiah, the followers arrive, and Jeremiah reveals to Bruce his true intentions; destroying Gotham in a way that opposes Jerome and is even more insane. Jeremiah reveals that he had just been wearing a mask while his white face was actually his true face, as his skin was very pale (like Jerome). He revealed that he pretended to be "sane" just so he could gain Bruce's trust. At that moment, the bunker blows up, and Jeremiah claims that he just killed Jim Gordon. He then sarcastically called Bruce "his very best friend", and ordered the followers to dump him into the grave. He and Ecco then entered Wayne Enterprises and stole a package of generators.
While confronting Bullock near GCPD, Jeremiah announces he has bombs hidden around Gotham City and states if Bullock were to do any harm to Jeremiah, the explosives will trigger. Jeremiah gives Bullock six hours to evacuate the city and destroys the Gotham Clock Tower to show he is telling the truth. Later, when Bruce met with Bullock, Jeremiah calls him and tells him to address Alfred, who Jeremiah had kidnapped, and warns Bruce not to tell the police as Jeremiah knows where Bruce is.
As Jeremiah enters his safehouse, he finds The Penguin, Barbara Kean, Tabitha Galavan, and Butch Gilzean waiting for him with one of Jeremiah's henchmen hostage. They demand an additional hour to evacuate the city and $50 million. Jeremiah calls the mayor and then pulls out a bazooka and kills the henchman. Jeremiah then tells them he has changed his mind and will detonate the bombs when he's a safe distance away. Jeremiah orders them to be killed and escapes. Later when he's in another bunker, Jeremiah prepares to detonate the bombs, but then he finds out that Gordon is still alive, much to his anger and frustration. Jeremiah triggers the explosives but fails, as Bullock had disabled them in time.
The followers get angry at Jeremiah and he ultimately decides to seal them inside a chamber and set them on fire. Later, Jeremiah plans to start over when he is met by Ra's al Ghul who explains it's not about Gotham, but it's about Bruce. Later when Bruce and Selina are talking, Jeremiah unexpectedly shows up and shoots Selina in the stomach. Alfred comes in and takes down Jeremiah with Bruce comforting Selina.
No Man's Land
After being beaten to a pulp by Alfred, Jeremiah is turned over to the GCPD. He is locked up but claims that he has other bombs around the city and will only reveal them if given permission to talk to Bruce Wayne. After several failed attempts by GCPD officers to get him to reveal the location of the bombs by brute force, the military steps in and hands over Bruce Wayne to Jeremiah.
Bruce and Jeremiah chat about the bombs to which Jeremiah declines to reveal their information. He also taunts Bruce about his actions against Selina. During their talk, Jeremiah also reveals that he has a partner helping him carry out his evil deeds. Bruce eventually realizes it is Ra's Al Ghul but by then it is too late. The lights flicker on and off and within an instant, Jeremiah and Bruce Wayne are nowhere to be found.
Later that day, Jeremiah, Bruce, and Ra's stand inside of a massive skyscraper overlooking Gotham. Ra's and Jeremiah explain their plan to destroy Gotham in hopes of creating a darker version of Bruce. Jeremiah specifically explains that he is aroused by the idea of mentoring Bruce's inner rage like an older brother.
Their talk, however, is interrupted when a massive fire fight between all the main players in Gotham breaks out. Jeremiah is also wounded in this battle but survives. The end result involves the demise of Ra's Al Ghul and the victory of Barbara Kean. However, Jeremiah's final bombs do blow up and Gotham is cut off of all means in and out of the city thus creating a no man's land. Jeremiah grins and chuckles at his work before fleeing into the dark unknown corners of the city.
Jeremiah remains hidden in the Grandin District while Ecco is sent out to gather followers. He is disappointed by the low number Ecco brings him, amd grabs her by the throat. He pulls her close to examine the scar from her self inflicted gun shot wound that made her as insane as him. He says she has set a high bar for devotion, and pulls her into a dance as she tells him about Bruce and Selina looking for him. After Ecco leaves with the recruits, Selina gets her mask and robe, and uses it to stab Jeremiah nine times.
Jeremiah survives the stabbing and is stitched up. He lays resting while Ecco takes over his digging operation. Ecco wakes him up when they reach their destination which looks to be Wayne Manor. He asks if the doctor has good news, who takes bandages off of two people who were given plastic surgery to look like Bruce Wayne's parents. Jeremiah chuckles at the result, claiming he loves family reunions, then smiles wickedly.
Jeremiah later gets the drop on Alfred and kidnaps him as part of his plan.
|“||You're more sick than your brother!||„|
|~ Harvey Bullock to Jeremiah Valeska.|
Even before becoming the Joker, Jeremiah was quite the suspicious individual. Aside from being the brother of one of Gotham's most notorious criminals, even in his younger days he had a unique interest in designing plans for mazes and traps, and even Jerome claims that Jeremiah is actually crazy like himself, just too afraid to let it show. It is shown that Jeremiah had been dishonest about his brother's attempts to murder him, although he claimed that everyone knew Jerome certainly wanted to do it. He also displays a disturbingly calm manner when held at gunpoint by Gordon and lies about his past with his brother as well as keeps him contained without caring about the GCPD's consent.
If Jeremiah was psychopathic before being exposed to toxin, he did everything he could to hide it in comparison to his brother, who felt as though his revenge on Jeremiah should be to forcefully expose his psychosis by means of laughing gas. Jeremiah would later state that while the gas caused some cosmetic changes, it had not changed his mentality, meaning that Jerome was telling the truth and he is as insane as his brother, though he continues to deny that he is insane, stating he is completing Jerome's plans in a more 'sane' manner. Jeremiah claimed that he was “at war” with his true self, implying that he didn't want to be like Jerome and tried to resist his temptations.
|“||'Jerome Victorious?' Are you serious? He's dead, haven't you been paying attention? Thank god I’m done with that. I am the one who's victorious. Jerome is dead. Long live...me! Look, Bruce, like everything Jerome set his mind to, his insanity gas failed. Other than some... mild cosmetic effects, he might as well have sprayed me with water. You all needed to see Jerome for the utter dud that he was, so I donned the mask of madness to show you how feeble that is... compared to actual greatness. Behold... the face of true sanity. But, looks aren't everything. I have a compendium of Jerome's obsessions and goals, and... I will outdo every one of them. Jerome wanted to turn Gotham into a madhouse. But to truly build something, you must first tear down what is already there.||„|
|~ Jeremiah Valeska to Bruce Wayne and the Cult of Jerome.|
|“||Don't compare me to that short-sighted psychopath. He just wanted to destroy things. Me... I'm a builder. I'm gonna create a new Gotham in my image, but every artist needs a blank canvas... so all of this has to go.||„|
|~ Jeremiah to Harvey Bullock.|
|“||Six hours, Detective. The clock is ticking!||„|
|~ Jeremiah Valeska to Harvey Bullock.|
|“||That is a self perpetuating generator. It can store a phenomenal amount of energy. I would hate to be within a mile of it if it were to overload.||„|
|~ Jeremiah, reflecting on the destructive capabilities of his generators.|
|“||You're right, you know; I did fail. I didn't yet understand the vision I was servicing, but... I do now. My eyes are open, as will yours be. When you've realized I'm not bluffing, bring me Bruce Wayne.||„|
|~ Jeremiah Valeska to Jim Gordon.|
|“||My brother once said all it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy. Jerome gave me what I thought was the worst day of my life. But only by losing everything was I able to face what was inside me. And I believe I've seen something very special - inside of you as well. But, to free it, you'll have to lose everything and everyone you hold dear.||„|
|~ Jeremiah Valeska to Bruce Wayne.|
|“||'Behold: the face of true sanity||„|
|~ Jeremiah Valeska to Bruce Wayne upon revealing himself as the Joker.|
|“||Jerome wanted to turn Gotham into a madhouse - but to truly build something, you must first tear down what is already there.||„|
|~ Jeremiah Valeska|
|“||My eyes are open as will yours be.||„|
|~ Jeremiah Valeska to Jim Gordon.|
|“||Let's reach inside and dig a little deeper, shall we? Because that's the only way you're all making it out of this hole.||„|
|~ Jeremiah Valeska to his cult.|
|“||If I can't have you as a brother, then we'll just have to be bonded by hatred.||„|
|~ Jeremiah Valeska to Bruce.|
- Unnamed Jerome Follower - Shot
- Multiple Unnamed Gotham Citizens - Blown up
- Jongleur - Blown up with Bazooka
- At least fifteen followers - Incinerated
- Mayor of Gotham - Blown up
- Assassin Member - Shot
- Two Unnamed Politicians - Blown Up
- Sykes - Throat Slashed
- A Dark Knight: Mandatory Brunch Meeting
- A Dark Knight: That's Entertainment
- A Dark Knight: That Old Corpse
- A Dark Knight: One Bad Day
- A Dark Knight: No Man's Land
- Legend of the Dark Knight: Ruin
- Legend of the Dark Knight: Pena Dura
- Legend of the Dark Knight: 13 Stitches
- Jeremiah Valeska is the third incarnation of Joker (fourth if you count Jerome Valeska, who is heavily influenced by the character) to have an established backstory and identity, with the first one being Jack Nicholson's Joker in the 1989 Batman film and the second the Martha Wayne version of the Joker from the 2011 "Flashpoint" crossover story arc, in which she was Joker in an alternative universe where Bruce Wayne was dead (having been killed by the mugger) and Thomas Wayne as Batman.
- Jeremiah's transformation and breaking into laughter is similar to The Joker's breakdown in The Killing Joke following his transformation. He even clutches his head in a very similar way.
- Unlike most versions of the Joker, Jeremiah is not pure evil, at least not yet.
- This version of Joker is the fourth version to appear on television: the first was in the campy 1960s Adam West Batman television series in which he was played by Cesar Romero; the second was in one of the six Batman OnStar commercials which ran from 2000 to 2002, in which he was played by Curtis Armstrong; and the third was a cameo appearance in the 2002-2003 series Birds of Prey, in which he was played physically by Roger Stoneburner and voiced by Mark Hamill.
- Jeremiah's motive to drive Bruce Wayne insane, and his method of doing so, is similar to how Joker tried to drive Commissioner Gordon insane after crippling his daughter.
- Additionally, he shoots Selina Kyle in a similar manner to how the Joker shot Barbara Gordon.
- Jeremiah is similar to Tim Drake from Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, who was transformed into the new Clown Prince of Crime following the original Joker's demise in order to continue his legacy.
- He is the youngest version of "The Joker", being around 21-22 years old at the time of his transformation. Also this version comes before Bruce Wayne becomes Batman.
- Jeremiah's Joker outfit shown by the promotional pictures bears a great resemblance to the outfit of Jack Nicholson's Joker from the 1989 Batman film.
- Due to rights issues down to Warner Brothers wanting to reserve Joker for their major DC film projects, limitations were set on the character of Jeremiah, such as him not being able to use the name "Joker" or even have bright green hair, which was stated by actor Cameron Monaghan. Instead Jeremiah has very dark green hair, although this makes him similar to the DC Animated Universe Joker who has the same shade of color. This decision has not been received well and has led to a small Campaign called #LetGothamUseJoker; the reason likely being Gotham is going into its final season, and afterwards the name "Joker" could be used only by Warner Bros.
- Jeremiah's cold and calculating demeanor makes him similar to the Golden Age Joker and also the version from the Frank Miller comic The Dark Knight Returns, making him a contrast to the more impulsive and visibly insane Jerome.
- While Jeremiah may have been insane prior to being sprayed by his brother's toxin, he seemed to show no bias toward Bruce Wayne or Gotham City (even though he could've saved the lives of citizens using information from Jerome's diary). This might suggest that the toxin didn't just alter Jeremiah's appearance, but also twisted his morality.
- It is possible that Jeremiah's stories about Jerome's being a psychopath as a child are fictional and purely a ploy to get sympathy from those around him.