FOX’s Gotham finally managed to turn Cameron Monaghan’s Jerome into a real Joker, but the joke may be on us. Producers are already walking back the show’s new green-haired menace, and won’t actually call him “The Joker.”

It was only last week that Gotham seemingly introduced the “real” Joker, dosing Cameron Monaghan’s Jeremiah Valeska (long-lost twin to the cackling Jerome) with a gas that caused white skin, green hair and an uncontrollable rictus grin. The series famously downplayed for years that Monaghan’s Jerome would turn out the genuine Clown Prince of Crime, building a presumption Jeremiah would have to be the genuine article. That said, executive producer Danny Cannon already tells ComicBook that Gotham won’t be using the name, much less making confirmations:

I don't think [we’ll refer to him as ‘The Joker’], no, This is an origin show about the beginnings of everything, therefore we just wanted to do the beginnings of why. When we first did the pilot, we were trying to create a world where someone like Batman would be necessary, and that's what we've done these last four years. If you want to survive as a villain in Gotham, you've got to think big.

Instead, Cannon referred back to earlier assertions the show’s Joker would be more conceptual, rather than any one individual. Prior seasons teased the idea that Jerome’s madness would spread through the city like a virus, with several cult organizations and figures standing in for the comic character. “I think that just spawned the conversation of the idea of it, of the Joker not being a one person, but like I said, it's a personality," Cannon says. "It's a way of thinking. It's more powerful than just one person.”

In reality, Gotham isn’t likely to adopt a full Joker for the same reason David Mazouz’s Bruce won’t call himself “Batman” anytime soon: DC is notoriously cagey about its live-action IP, and tends to reserve certain characters for film. Jared Leto already has a murky future as the DCEU’s Joker – atop whatever projects emerge around Joaquin Phoenix or Martin Scorsese – and neither DC nor Warner Bros. will risk confusing audiences with another live-action interpretation.

“Jeremiah” is probably as close as Gotham will get (note the similarity to Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke as well), but is it time for this recurring joke to end?

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