‘Pennyworth’ Preview: How Alfred Came to Be in the Wayne Family’s Service

EPIX

Before he was Batman’s butler, Alfred Pennyworth was a badass.

From Gotham’s Bruno Heller and Danny Cannon comes a new origin story set in the Caped Crusader’s universe. Premiering Sunday, July 28, at 9pm ET/PT, Pennyworth is a 10-episode action drama from EPIX following Bruce Wayne’s stalwart servant, Alfred, a former British SAS soldier who forms a security company in 1960s London. His destiny is forever changed when he accepts a job from Dr. Thomas Wayne.

“It’s really the chance to make [Alfred] the center of a story and explain that journey,” Heller says. “And it also gives us a chance to create a real world around him, a world in England that fits the whole DC universe.”

As they did in Gotham, Heller and Cannon reveal that even Batman’s ancillary characters have fascinating histories that lead them into the Dark Knight’s world. “Why does [Alfred] end up in Gotham? Why does he serve Thomas Wayne the way he does? Why will he be a good mentor to the greatest hero of all time? I think we’ve just gone further back in time to answer those questions,” Cannon says.

Alfred has been famously portrayed by the likes of Michael Caine, Michael Gough and Alan Napier, but Jack Bannon (Endeavour) says some of the pressure was relieved by getting to play Alfred in an entirely different era during his younger, mod, James Bond-type days.

Pennyworth also gives a rare look Thomas Wayne, whose fate has been rehashed through all-too-familiar flashbacks in Batman lore. “We’ve got a lot of scope to create a whole backstory for him,” says Ben Aldridge (Fleabag), who plays the billionaire father of Bruce. “In the comics, he’s tied to medicine and surgery. In our world, he’s involved in a slightly more covert, darker, more secretive world, which I think is quite exciting.”

About Ryan Berenz 2006 Articles
Devotee of Star Wars. Builder of LEGO. Observer of televised sports. Member of the Television Critics Association. Graduate of the University of Wisconsin. Connoisseur of beer. Consumer of cheese. Father of two. Husband of one. Scourge of the Alaskan Bush People. Font of Simpsons knowledge. Son of a Stonecutter.