After dipping its toes into R-rated territory with the DC Universe live-action series Titans, it seems that DC will be continuing that trend with Epix’s Batman prequel series Pennyworth, with executive producer Danny Cannon (Gotham) revealing at the Television Critics Association press tour that the show will be “unhinged” and “R-rated”.
“It’s twentysomething years before Gotham, it’s a very different world,” said Cannon. “This is the DC version of 1960s London. 13 degrees history is different: It’s not the England we know,” he continued. “It looks and feels like, but if you look a little closer, [you ask], ‘Why is that like that? Why is that building there? What war is he talking about?'”
Cannon went on to reveal that there won’t be any members of Batman’s Rogue’s Gallery appearing in Pennyworth, but will instead feature “archetypal villains and classic villains of British literature; they’re all available to us.” Asked whether this might include the notorious Whitechapel murderer, Cannon responded: “Jack the Ripper was 1880s, but he has descendants.”
“We had a test audience and there were only so many who knew it was a DC-related series,” Cannon continued. “It was incredibly positive and that’s because the characters are being drawn out. There’s so much to draw from and so much to imagine. You didn’t really know [Alfred’s] backstory.”
The series will see Alfred Pennyworth, Thomas Wayne and two of Alfred’s closest friends, Trinidadian Marcus “Bazza” Barrington and Scotsman Wallace “Dave Boy” MacDuff, take on the villainous Raven Society, led by the mysterious Lord Hardwood and his sadistic henchwoman, Bet Sykes.
Jack Bannon (The Imitation Game) stars in the title role as the young Alfred Pennyworth alongside Ben Aldridge (Fleabag) as Thomas Wayne, Ryan Fletcher (Outlander) and Hainsley Lloyd Bennett (Casualty) as Alfred’s military buddies Dave Boy and Bazza, Jason Flemyng (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, X-Men: First Class) as Lord Hardwood, Paloma Faith (Youth) as Bet Sykes, and Polly Walker (Rome) as Peggy Sykes.