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Villain Overview

I'm the answer to your life's questions! Without me, you're just a joke... without a punch line.
~ Jeremiah Valeska breaks down in front of Bruce Wayne shortly before falling into a vat of acidic chemicals.
I was waiting for him to come home. We’re bound together, he and I. It's the one thing I knew for certain, the one thing I knew was true. And then he just... abandoned us. Do you know how it feels to have the one, the only thing you love ripped away from you?
~ Jeremiah Valeska talking about Bruce Wayne to Jim Gordon.

Jeremiah Valeska, also known as Xander Wilde and "The Joker" in some promotional media, is a major antagonist in the TV series Gotham, acting as a major antagonist in the fourth season and one of the three main antagonists of the fifth and final season (alongside Nyssa al Ghul and the Penguin), serving as the main antagonist of the finale.

The identical twin brother of Jerome Valeska, Jeremiah was once a structural engineer who hid his disturbing nature from the public until Jerome died, becoming Jerome's successor. Unlike Jerome, Jeremiah was a smarter and calmer anarchist than he was, using Jerome's cult to cause mayhem and anarchy around Gotham, whilst also seeking to kill Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon upon failing to create a bond with Wayne, becoming his arch-nemesis.

He was portrayed by Cameron Monaghan, who also played Jerome in the same series and Jeffrey Charles in Criminal Minds.

Personality

You're more sick than your brother!
~ Harvey Bullock to Jeremiah Valeska.

Even before becoming J, Jeremiah was quite the suspicious individual. Aside from being an identical twin 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 some of 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. At the same time, it is unknown if he locked up Jerome out of spite or because he felt like it was the only way to stop him from harming everyone else.

If Jeremiah was psychotic 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 possibly telling the truth and he is as insane as his brother, although, due to his newfound arrogance, it could also be a delusional exaggeration, much like his "logic" that he is sane, stating he is completing Jerome's plans in a more "sane" manner. Jeremiah claimed that he was “at war” with his true self, heavily implying that he did not want to be like Jerome and tried to resist his temptations.

After Jeremiah causes the events of "No Man's Land", he becomes more unhinged, which according to Cameron Monaghan, is due to a newfound ego from the success of his previous plan. Unlike his personality in Season 4, where he never laughs, he is seen laughing to himself whilst overseeing his digging operation and chuckling when seeing the result of Bruce Wayne's false parents.

At first Jeremiah seemed to care about Ecco as he refused to leave her behind and showed relief when he realized she was safe. Even though she had been hypnotized by Jervis Tetch, he still tried to get through to her to the point where she almost brought him straight to Jerome. After Jeremiah was exposed to Jerome's laughing toxin and developed his obsession with Bruce, their relationship got more complicated. While he seemed to have taken a romantic interest in Ecco and trusted her to carry out his plans, he also was slightly abusive towards her, grabbing her by the throat and face roughly on two separate occasions. After she shot herself in the head to prove her loyalty to him, Jeremiah would have her manipulate the bullet inside her head of get rid of any feelings or sentimentality towards him.

When Ecco was stabbed by Barbara Kean, Jeremiah did slightly react and appeared to be affected by it as he just stared at her for a few seconds with wide eyes and his mouth slightly open. He called her his “dear sweet Ecco” and said there will never be one like her, but it is unknown if he really meant what he said to her because after he killed her, he then said that he supposes “there are other fish in the sea.” It is equally possible that due to how insane and evil he has become, he could easily just detach his emotions from Ecco after killing her, though he did immediately smack Barabra across the face with a look of malice on his face, almost as if he was mad at her for stabbing Ecco, which then made him feel like he had to kill her in his twisted mind. Either way, him killing Ecco shows how much Jeremiah has fallen considering that regardless of how he was a good person before he got sprayed or not, he still showed some fondness towards her.

Quotes

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.
Jim, as an engineer, you expect systems to fail. So, you build in redundancies. And I am a very good engineer.
~ Jeremiah to Jim Gordon.
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.
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 bonded by love, then we'll just have to be bonded by hatred.
~ Jeremiah Valeska to Bruce Wayne.
Bruce: Jeremiah! This ends tonight!
Jeremiah: No... no, Bruce. Now it begins!
~ Jeremiah and Bruce before their final showdown at the acid chemicals.
Jeremiah: Oh, dear me. My sweet Ecco. No longer my Ecco. There will never be one like you...
Ecco: Really?
Jeremiah: But, I suppose there are other fish in the sea.
~ Jeremiah speaks to a dying Ecco before finishing her off and then implying he’ll eventually replace her.
I feel something new, crawling from the primordial ooze that was me. Something... beautiful.
~ Jeremiah reflecting on his transformation to Jim Gordon.
You...
~ Jeremiah's last words upon recognizing Bruce Wayne as Batman before being knocked unconscious.

Killed Victims

Kill count: 25+

  • 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.
  • Thomas and Martha Wayne impostors - Shot.
  • Ecco - Shot.

Appearances

Season 4

  • 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

Season 5

  • Legend of the Dark Knight: Ruin
  • Legend of the Dark Knight: Pena Dura
  • Legend of the Dark Knight: 13 Stitches
  • Legend of the Dark Knight: Ace Chemicals
  • Legend of the Dark Knight: The Beginning...

Trivia

  • Jeremiah's transformation and breaking into laughter is similar to the Joker's breakdown in Batman: The Killing Joke following his transformation. He even clutches his head in a very similar way.
  • Jeremiah's motive to drive Bruce Wayne insane and his method of doing so, is similar to how the 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.
  • Jeremiah 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.
  • 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 (and, unlike most versions, is particularly played for laughs); 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 Valeska is the third incarnation of Joker (fourth if you count Jerome 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 being 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.
    • Make-up tests for Jeremiah's appearance in "The Beginning..." strongly resemble the Batman: Endgame and Joker interpretations of the Joker.
  • 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 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 green hair.
  • It has been reported that the executives of Warner Bros. knew that both Jerome and Jeremiah were intended to represent the Joker and thoroughly enjoyed Cameron Monaghan's performance, however, the name "Joker" , the green hair and purple suit were still off limits for reasons unknown.
  • 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 being a psychotic person as a child are fictional and purely a ploy to get sympathy from those around him.
    • This could indicate that either both brothers were normal kids and that Jeremiah was extremely paranoid about Jerome's possible future behavior, or that Jeremiah was responsible for torturing Jerome in his youth and committed many of the crimes for which he held Jerome responsible when discussing his childhood to Jim Gordon. If the latter is correct, this would make Jeremiah more of a crazy, evil character than Jerome.
    • The contradictions in Jeremiah's stories are clearly inspired by the Joker's, who is known to change his backstory several times, most often to invoke sympathy (case in point when he lied to Harley Quinn about having an abusive childhood).
    • Even regarding his transformation, despite Jeremiah saying that he was insane all along, the gas did make him more unhinged. Therefore, its unknown if he was as vile as Jerome said, or he simply embraced his nature willingly or by force.
  • Jeremiah was never officially confirmed to be the Joker and whether he is or not was left up to fan interpretation. The writers did drop a couple of Easter eggs in the series finale for him becoming the Joker. After Jeremiah kills Ecco, he remarks that “there are other fish in the sea”, foreshadowing Harley Quinn. When Jeremiah refuses to be acknowledged by his name, he admits he can't decide on what to be called. The fact that Jeremiah has to discard his own name foreshadows him possibly taking the name of the Joker.

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