This weekend, millions of moviegoers will head to their local theater and fork over their ten bucks for “The Dark Knight,” eager to see Batman, The Joker, Two-Face and some other Gotham City favorites. But will they also get a brief glimpse of Batgirl?
MTV News recently caught a screening of “The Dark Knight,” and it isn’t giving away any spoilers to say that Gary Oldman’s James Gordon has a very different-looking family. The role of his wife has been recast (Ilyssa Fradin in “Batman Begins,” now Melinda McGraw), as has his son James Jr. (an infant in “Begins,” now 10-year-old Nathan Gamble). Most suspiciously, however, a daughter has been added.
As die-hard fans of the comics (and Sixties TV series) know, several incarnations of the Batman universe have had Gordon fathering a daughter named Barbara, who then grows up to don a costume of her own and take on the persona “Batgirl.” In “The Killing Joke” storyline, The Joker turns her into a paraplegic, and she becomes Oracle.
In “Dark Knight,” Gordon’s daughter appears to be 8 or 9 years old, and experiences the sort of creepy close encounter with a supervillain that could make a young gal want to grow up and fight crime. So, is Nolan planting a seed?
“I don’t think I’m going to answer that,” the writer/director grinned slyly when I asked him directly whether Gordon’s daughter was indeed named Barbara. Check out the video for yourself, and you can see the way he takes a very long sip of his drink and squirms a bit before answering – could it be that we’ve caught him in the sort of sneaky scheme usually reserved for a Gotham evildoer?
In the “Dark Knight” end credits, it says the character is named “Gordon’s daughter,” and that she is played by Hannah Gunn. So, I asked Nolan if he even knows the name of James Gordon’s daughter in his universe. “Possibly,” he grinned.
To further strengthen the case, online versions of the “Batman Begins” script show that Gordon’s wife (who is also named Barbara) was pregnant – which we were unable to see since she was sitting down in her one scene. Clearly, there has been a near-decade growth in the Gordon children between films, making it quite possible that Nolan is laying the groundwork to do the same between “Knight” and the third movie. That would leave Gordon's daughter at the appropriate age to take on the Batgirl persona.
The big question for now, however is a simple one: What the hell is that little girl’s name? I went straight to Oldman himself, and this was how our conversation went down:
MTV: Towards the end of the movie, we see you with your children. What’s your daughter’s name? Is it Barbara?
GO: (confused) No.
MTV: Do you know who Barbara Gordon is?
MTV: Well, I ask because in the comics, Commissioner Gordon has a daughter named Barbara. Barbara grows up to Batgirl.
GO: She grows up to be Batgirl, yeah. But I completely blanked on the name.
MTV: Well I don’t mean the actresses’ name, I mean in the movie did they say to you her name?
GO: Yeah, no. You know, we were talking about it earlier. Please no Robin, not in the third one. No Robin, no Batgirl.
So, Oldman seems opposed to any incarnation of Batgirl. But still, the question remains: What is the name of Gordon’s daughter in the new Batman movies, and where is this storyline headed?
What do you think? Could Nolan make Batgirl (or Oracle) a cool character, or should Gordon’s mysterious new daughter simply stay in the background?