When DC Comics crime serial Gotham returns for season 3 next fall a familiar face will join the cast for an unfamiliar role. Once Upon a Time’s Jamie Chung has signed on as Valerie Vale, a character created just for the TV show and the aunt of Vicki Vale, the journalist who will one day persevere in discovering the truth about Bruce Wayne’s connection to Batman.
The younger Vale may have inherited her curiosity and nose for a scoop from her aunt, according to the story Gotham is reportedly preparing to tell. TV Line broke the news that Valerie Vale is a new employee for the Gotham Gazette and is already zoomed in on mysterious Indian Hill. In season 1 Indian Hill was referenced as a chemical treatment plant built on (of course) Native American burial grounds.
Comics have a long history of villains and heroes spawned from industrial accidents so it was no surprise when that facility turned out, in season 2, to be a “research” lab conveniently owned by Wayne Enterprises. Could the Batman be driven by his need to vanquish the very villains his family created?
Originally Gotham was set up to be Detective James Gordon story, with Bruce Wayne’s childhood trauma and legacy a subplot in the overall criminal drama of Gotham City. Along the way the creators made a strategic decision to broaden the show and brought Arkham Asylum into the mix. Run by mastermind Hugo Strange who is performing back-alley biology, the Asylum is fertile ground for all kinds of crazy-making criminals. That choice pulled the series from fair-to-middling reviews in season 1 to strong support in season 2.
As Chung joins the series she’s coming off the recurring role of Mulan in OUAT, a character already loved from the 1998 Disney film based on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan. OUAT’s version gained more fans when the writers revealed her unrequited love for Princess Aurora, making her the Enchanted Forest’s first lesbian reveal. It took two more seasons but Mulan got over Aurora and found her true love with Dorothy, which everything things is perfect (except that I still can’t reconcile the Oz storyline crossing over into Fairy Tale land. It’s just weird, but I digress.)
Chung is so good on-screen that it’s easy to forget she got her start on MTV’s The Real World in 2004. A follow-up stint on The Real World/Road Rules Challenge led to roles on CSI: NY, and Veronica Mars, in Grown Ups, Premium Rush, Dragonball Evolution, Big Hero 6 and more. As Chung’s brand new character Valerie Vale learns her way around Gotham in season 3 a few other new characters will be lurking the streets too. The Mad Hatter – a young woman who plays her sexuality to her advantage – and an emo version of Bruce Wayne have also been teased. Executive Producer John Stephens called the latter “a development that is in line with all the other story we’ve been telling in season 2, but one piece that we’ve kept hidden.”
Season 3 of Gotham returns on Fox September 19. You can catch the 5 most recent episodes on Hulu or watch all of season 1 on Netflix.