Fox’s Gotham season four will premiere on September 21, 2017, and when the comic book-inspired series returns it will be with Edward Nygma still in a frozen state thanks to Penguin, Mr. Freeze, and Poison Ivy. During the 2017 San Diego Comic Con, Gotham‘s Cory Michael Smith sat down for roundtable interviews to provide a sneak peek into what’s in store for season four, where we pick up with Edward Nygma, and Ed’s new partners in crime.
Ed was not in a great place at the end of last season.
Cory Michael Smith: “I mean, if you’re a polar bear it’s great, but I’m certainly not.”
Does that mean we won’t get to see you do much in the first few episodes or are you revived quickly?
Cory Michael Smith: “No, I don’t do much in the first few episodes. I’m frozen until someone gets me out.”
Did you still have to show up on set and just stand there?
Cory Michael Smith: “Yes. I, however, made a request that they have a stand-in for me so I didn’t always have to be there. I was working on two other projects as well, so I was finishing those while we were starting this season so I was able to do that.”
You mentioned in the panel that his body thaws out but his mind doesn’t. What kind of changes to his thought process will we see?
Cory Michael Smith: “You know, we play a lot with Edward having identity issues and so this is just another identity crisis for him. His mind isn’t functioning at the level that it was. Whether that can be cured or fixed, he doesn’t know. But, his computation is not as it was. So, what does that make him now? The thing that he had was his intelligence and his ability to trick people and outsmart people. He doesn’t have that anymore so what is there? So, he goes on a new quest.
I’m really happy because it allows for a little more comedy, some of the old comedy that we had with Ed. I think we get to find again some of his physical and mental ineptitude is back. I’m going to have fun with that.”
John Stephens mentioned Ed Nygma and Lee Thompkins are going to be in a relationship. Is this a romantic relationship?
Cory Michael Smith: “I don’t know. Maybe. I really don’t know.”
He said they’re building a different kind of family.
Cory Michael Smith: “Yeah. I’m very excited. You know, evil Lee or dark Lee is a new character and Solomon Grundy is certainly a new character so I get to meet two new people and interact with them, so I’m very excited about that. It’s like new beginnings. Every time Edward meets a new character and interacts with them and grows a new kinship with them, he changes significantly. And, so, I’m really excited to just see what happens when I’m dealing with the buffoon of Solomon Grundy, just like the physical power of the idiocy, and then someone like Lee who at this point is just an entirely different human being.
I’m such a fan of Morena (Baccarin). All the stuff that I’ve done with her in the past has been so fun that I’m really excited to work with her again. I just think she’s a really smart actress and I’m excited about that.”
Is it difficult that after Ed Nygma’s worked with the same group for a while, now he’s back to a rebuilding phase with different characters?
Cory Michael Smith: “No, it’s always fun to have something to work against. I think something that this show does that I enjoy so much is they make really bold choices that you just say as an actor, ‘I love it. I don’t know exactly where we’re going to go, and that’s cool.’ It’s been such a joy to be a different human from season one to season three. And it’s happened because we made a pact, ‘You give me events, and I will respond to them. You give me major events, and I will make major adjustments to a character.’ Allow them to be severely affected by their environments and by other characters, and then we end up discovering something new together.
They’re very great at adapting to what they see from the work. I know Kristen Kringle was initially meant to be a two-episode character, but my interaction with her was so magnetic and so interesting that they’re like, ‘Oh, this is the key. This is one of our keys.’ So, it’s very exciting to know that I haven’t even met Solomon Grundy yet or Lee Thompkins and I don’t know how I’m going to respond to them. When they start seeing those dailies come back, the actual filming of it, they’ll make adjustments. We’ll find that chemistry and that humor as we roll.”
Did you know early on last season that you were going to be put on ice?
Cory Michael Smith: “I was aware of it. They usually tell me these big things. When they said, ‘We’re going to freeze you,’ I was like, ‘So, should I start looking for other work? Is this like a six-month period where I’m available?’ They’re like, ‘No, no, no. Not that long.’ But it has been nice because I was able to do three other projects during hiatus because I had a late start, which was nice.”
Is revenge motivating Ed in season four?
Cory Michael Smith: “I think there is residual revenge with Penguin that I think will incite us finding each other physically. But the idea is not for season four to be…my story is not going to be mainly influenced or inspired by a revenge plot. That was so much of the latter half of season three that it’s over and now it’s tired. So, there’s the residual want to end him physically, but that’s really going to be an impetus to get us together. And then as things happen in Gotham, people have needs and wants and sometimes you find alliances and sometimes you don’t. Or sometimes you make pacts and you’re like, ‘Steer clear and I won’t hurt you.’ So, whatever that may be.”
What has been your favorite scene to shoot?
Cory Michael Smith: “There’s so many. The first time I killed someone it was really exciting because it felt like an unlocking for Edward. I really enjoyed shooting my scene with James Gordon in my apartment where he had the tape and we were cleaning the tape and I electrocute him in the chair – episode 17 of season two.”
What about the scene on the dock where Ed shot Penguin? That was a very powerful scene.
Cory Michael Smith: “Thank you. That was another one. Something that was amazing about that, the two big dock scenes that we have, if you look at them on screen you’re like, ‘Oh, they must have shot them on the same day,’ because the weather was the exact same. We didn’t CGI any of that stuff. Both days we showed up to shoot that scene were horrifically cold, overcast, and it was raining during the scenes. Both days. And the whole idea of that second time we go back is I wanted to recreate that day. And it just happened that the day we shot that scene, the weather was the exact same. I was like, ‘Yes! It’s just so perfect. It just was one of those things where you’re like, ‘Edward would celebrate this.’ Even the weather is the same.”
Watch the full Cory Michael Smith Gotham interview: