The new trailer for Gotham showed us a lot of new footage, and we got our first look at many new characters. Only the identity of two of them has been fully confirmed, and we’ll start from them. First of all, Sal Maroni, portrayed by David Zayas: he’ll be the main antagonist in Carmine Falcone‘s war for supremacy, and it’s positive he’ll make GCPD‘s life a living hell. The character already appeared in Batman Forever, named Boss Moroni and portrayed by Dennis Paladino: he only appeared in the flashback showing Two-Face‘s origin, and he’s seen disfiguring the future criminal during a trial. His most prominent appearance, until now, has been Eric Roberts‘ version in The Dark Knight: in the movie, he was featured as one of the main villains, heir to Carmine Falcone’s criminal empire, and the main responsible along with The Joker of Two-Face’s transformation. Waiting to see this new version of one of the most vicious gangsters of Gotham City, let’s see who the character is in the comics.
As most of DC characters, there are multiple versions of Sal Maroni. In the first one, he was named Boss Moroni, and he was one of the most powerful and influent gangsters in Gotham City. He was renowned for carrying along a “lucky” silver dollar everytime he had to execute somebody, a stacked two-headed coin that, once flipped, always determined the death of the victim. When he killed a small-time criminal named “Bookie” Benson, Moroni ended up being arrested by Batman, the new masked hero in town, and was trialed by idealistic and incorruptible D.A. Harvey Kent. During the trial, Moroni was quite sure to be absolved, but Kent brought his silver dollar as an evidence, incriminating him: cornered, Moroni threw an acid vial at the D.A., horribly disfiguring him. In retaliation, Kent shot and killed him, then surrendering to the police: a new criminal, Two-Face, was born. After the first chrisis, Moroni became Morelli, while his nemesis was renamed Harvey Dent. The trial ended up in almost the same way, but Morelli survived Dent’s shooting, becoming paralyzed. On a wheelchair, Morelli planned his revenge, and underwent plastic surgery to hide himself from Dent, now the deranged gangster Two-Face. He changed his name into Anton Karoselle, and targeted Dent’s family. Morelli tracked Gilda Gold, Dent’s ex-wife, and organised an attempt to her life, knowing that his enemy still loved her: the attack failed, but Dave Stevens, Gilda’s new husband, got killed to protect his wife. Morelli/Karoselle wanted to try again and kill the woman for good, but Stevens’ death had attracted the attention of Two-Face, who now knew his ex-wife’s life was in danger: while Morelly hunted Gilda, Two-Face hunted Morelli. Eventually, the disfigured criminal found his prey for first, and the Italian mobster was killed by the same man who had paralyzed him years before.
The third and last version of the character is the more complex. Here, Salvatore Vincent Maroni was the son of Luigi “Big Lou” Maroni, one of Gotham City’s most powerful gangsters. Sal grew up in his father’s shadow, with all the privileges of a prince of crime. The Maronis rivaled with the Falcones for the control of Gotham’s crime, and when Luigi tried to kill Vincent Maroni‘s son, Carmine, the Falcones answered by murdering Luigi, leaving Sal as the heir of his father’s fallen empire. The Falcones became Gotham City’s lords, while Sal was left with a certain autonomy, but forced to obedience. Maroni didn’t resolve to be just the second power in town, and started building a financial empire to start a new criminal activity from, a task made easier by the city’s new masked crusader, Batman, who targeted mainly Falcone’s activities. With his sons Umberto and Pino, Sal controlled a variety of less-important crime networks, mainly usury. The first big investment for Sal came when he started financing Hugo Strange, a scientist who was building an army of mutated super-goons using the inmates of Arkham Asylum. Maroni was promised a huge amount of money in exchange, but soon realised Strange was paying him with the money his supermen had stolen from Maroni himself: when he was about to shut Strange’s researches down, the scientist reacted sending his mutants to kill him. Ironically, only Batman’s intervention saved him from a certain death. In the meanwhile, a serial killer nicknamed Holiday had started killing the members of Falcone’s family, and soon Carmine began suspecting Sal Maroni was behind it. When Carmine preemptively attacked Maroni, killing many of his men, he decided to make a deal with the new D.A., Harvey Dent, to expose Falcone’s criminal empire. In jail, however, Sal was visited by Sofia Falcone, Carmine’s daughter and Maroni’s lover: she told him that the responsible of the attacks was Dent himself, not her father, and he fell for it. During the trial in which he was supposed to testify against Falcone, Maroni attacked Dent with an acid phial he had been given by Vernon Field, Dent’s corrupted assistant: the D.A. got horribly disfigured, while Maroni was shot twice in the chest by a guard. He survived, however, and he was brought back to prison. This was not the end of Sal “The Boss” Maroni.
Sal Maroni, known both as The Boss and The Italian, is one of Gotham City’s most powerful mob bosses, ruler of a criminal empire built by his father, destroyed by Falcone, and rebuilt by himself. Maroni doesn’t possess any particular ability, and he’s also lacking the streategic intelligence of his rival Falcone, but his determination and his inventiveness have been more than enough for him to make his empire come back to what it was before Big Lou’s death. Cruel and single-minded, Maroni has all the means and the intention of becoming the new absolute crimelord in Gotham City.