There's a familiar face coming to "Gotham." Well, not so much a face as a name. The series, set in a corner of the Batman universe, is ready to introduce the next big piece of its puzzle -- and that happens to be Ra's al Ghul. In this instance, the character will be played by "Game of Thrones," "24" and "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" alum Alexander Siddig.
Though Ra's has most recently been known as an "Arrow" character, he's typically considered a Batman adversary -- as shown in Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" movies. That's why introducing him on "Gotham" is such an exciting prospect. We've seen "Arrow's" version of the character, and everything he brings -- from Lazarus Pits to sword fights to the death on top of snowy mountains. Now fans can explore a different side of the character... And perhaps one a bit closer to what was seen on the big screen.
A description of this Ra's, from "Gotham's" producers reads, "As Bruce (David Mazouz) pulls the veil off the Court of Owls, he finds the man pulling the strings is the enigmatic and powerful Ra's al Ghul. With his past shrouded in mystery, Ra's Al Ghul uses cunning and deception to lay waste to his foes. As the leader of an international criminal organization known as the League of Shadows, Ra's Al Ghul will prove himself to be Bruce's most dangerous adversary yet."
It's interesting to note that "Gotham" is invoking the League of Shadows name, which was used in the movies, rather than the League of Assassins, as was seen on "Arrow." While both apply to Ra's, drawing that distinction between the two versions of the character is important.
What's more exciting, though, is tying Ra's to the Court of Owls.
The group has been making Bruce's life miserable, and they're behind the death of his parents. If it's Ra's that's truly pulling the strings, as the description would have us believe, what is his game? Given that the League of Shadows is defined as an international crime organization in this instance, we're betting whatever he's got planned isn't legal. What better place to get busy than Gotham City?
This is the perfect chance to envision a more realistic Ra's, without mystical elements like the Lazarus Pit. After all, "Gotham" has already figured out a way to cure death, thanks to Indian Hill. It's the sort of thing that makes us wonder just how deeply entwined Ra's might be, in the goings-on of "Gotham's" first three seasons.
It's also enough to make us scared of what this could mean for Bruce. As it stands, his Season 3 has been a difficult one -- it's seen him start to adopt the bedrock of his future Batman principles, but coming up against a master assassin is still going to be pretty far out of his league.
"Gotham" returns Monday, April 24, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.