Even for Gotham, the decision to rapidly age its young proto-Poison Ivy into a mature villain raised more than a few eyebrows. Now that Season 3 has premiered, however, kicking off the transition from teenage actor Claire Foley to the adult Maggie Geha, producers have swung back to the awkward explanation that “everyone was much more comfortable” with an age-appropriate star using Ivy’s comic seduction.

You’re warned of Gotham Season 3 spoilers from here on out, but last night’s premiere “Better to Reign in Hell” capped with a long-publicized event that saw young Ivy Pepper (Foley) fleeing from Fish Mooney’s Indian Hill escapees, one of whom demonstrated an ability to age and drain the life from others by touch. Ivy only suffered the briefest contact before escaping into a storm drain, and leaving next week’s hour to introduce Maggie Geha as the aged-up version, now series regular.

Back in August, executive producer John Stephens attempted to downplay any distastefulness with treating a mentally 14 year-old character as a sexual figure, claiming sexuality wouldn’t factor into the characterization, as in comics:

I think it’s going to be more about discovering how other people perceive her and what means. A lot of people are focused on her sexuality. I think Ivy, in my opinion, doesn’t really feel sexual about anybody. I think if she notices this person is attracted to me, finds me appealing in a sexual way, I’m going to use that to my benefit. It’s more of a manipulative thing than anything.

Following last night’s premiere, fellow producer Ken Woodruff was … shall we say, less in sync with that tapered approach in speaking with The Hollywood Reporter:

We made the change for two reasons: The character Ivy in the comics, one of her greatest powers is the power of seduction. Everyone was much more comfortable with that with an older actress as opposed to a teenager. We want to explore that classic, canonical power of Ivy. And we didn’t just make her older with that attack. When she’s changed and transformed, there’s a real character change as well. She’ll still have some of the same traits, but she’ll be much darker, more manipulative than the Ivy we’ve seen so far. There’s a more evil quality to her as well. It’s more than just physical.

Time will tell if Geha’s role in Season 3 ends up any less questionable than the concept at large, but also worth noting is that this isn’t the first time Gotham executives have had trouble clarifying questionable comments. In the meantime, is Season 3 otherwise off to a strong start?


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