Gotham’s Poison Ivy name change doesn’t make sense

Why did FOX change the name of Poison Ivy to Ivy Pepper for the Gotham TV show?

Clare Foley as Ivy Pepper in Gotham
Clare Foley as Ivy Pepper in Gotham

Speaking to IGN, Gotham showrunner Bruno Hellar attempted to explain away the ‘controversial’ decision to change Pamela Isley to Ivy Pepper.

“It’s really about being able to tell the secret histories of these stories,” said Hellar.

“If you just re-tell stories exactly as they’ve been told before, whilst you’re being true to the created mythology, you’re not really adding anything to it. So you have to find ways of finding more. And in this case, we’ve set up a situation in which Ivy Pepper, her mom is sick, her dad is dead…

“She’s going to go to the orphanage. And she’s a nice young girl; relatively undamaged. And she will find people to adopt her. And then we will start on the Poison Ivy story that people are familiar with.”

Poison Ivy by Brian Bolland
Poison Ivy by Brian Bolland

The problem is, Ivy – played by Clare Foley (Orange Is The New Black) – actually looks a bit too old to suddenly change her entire name to fit her adopted family. That said, she does turn into a criminal nutjob, so she probably doesn’t have the best upbringing.

Obviously changing her name doesn’t really change anything meaningful (plus, Ivy Pepper is a lovely name), but the in-universe explanation sounds like a bit of a fudge.

Gotham begins this autumn on Fox in the US. No UK air date has been announced. You can buy Batman: Year One for £7.69 at Amazon.co.uk and find out more about the comics that inspired the show with new digital magazine Uncanny Comics.