When it recently revealed that Gotham, the show previously centered around a pre-Batman theme, would be changing the origins to Penguin and Riddler, most fans weren’t really surprised. Times change and certain factors have to be considered when appealing to a more mainstream audience compared to the die-hard fans who are inept at looking into Batman lore. The changes weren’t revealed beforehand so fans were mostly content as long as the show wasn’t going to change its core ideology. When the change was actually revealed, fans went insane. To change the sexuality on a character embedded in Batman’s history was pure nonsense. To have the Penguin have feelings for the Riddler was reaching the brink of blasphemy. The move was met with a lot of negative comments and has become a central controversial plot twist of the show when it never intended to be. Robin Lord Taylor portrays the Penguin on the show and shed some light on the plot twist:
“So, this is why I say he’s not gay. I find him to be a very emotionally-fractured person, emotionally-vulnerable. And after the loss of both his mother and his father — coincidentally both dying in his arms, the only people he ever loved and trusted — the person who was there who gave him respect and really there for him was Edward Nygma. And I truly believe that had it been Barbara, or Tabitha, or Butch… Yes, Butch! I believe that if it had been anyone else that had been there in that same capacity that he had that connection with, regardless if they were male or female, he would’ve had that same obsession with. I also want to address the people who say, ‘I have no problem with him being gay or queer or anything, I just have a problem with you guys changing or altering the canon.’ And I have to say, that’s a bunch of horsesh-t. You can’t say that to me if you didn’t have the same amount of consternation about Batman ’89, where The Joker killed Batman’s parents. That is a total departure from the canon characters. You can’t tell me unless you were just as upset that in our own show we had Batman and Catwoman growing up together, running around Gotham City. If you weren’t equally upset about that, which is changing canon characters, but you come to me and you say to me, ‘I’m okay with you being queer, but I’m upset you’re changing a canon character.’ What you’re saying to me is, ‘I’m homophobic, and I am afraid of gay people and queer people.’ That’s exactly what you’re saying! So, everyone should really check themselves. Check their privileges and check their prejudices, I would say.”
While Lord Taylor might want to lean on a more diplomatic response, he does leave some room for doubt. Having feelings of gratitude for someone who’s stood by you isn’t unheard of. Paired with Penguin’s emotional instability, it could be a solid explanation on how the Penguin’s sexual orientation hasn’t changed but his affection for the Riddler stays constant. You can find the Q&A session in the video below. What do you think of Penguin’s newfound feelings? Sound off in the comments below!