Hours before the television premiere of Batwoman on The CW, a New York Comic Con Warner Bros. Television Panel crowd were wowed by a sneak peek of the episode. The spot introduced the new LGBTQ heroine Kate Kane (Ruby Rose), a trained street fighter who dons a famed cowl in the absence of a particular Caped Crusader from Gotham City.
The crowd at the show’s first-ever Comic Con panel gasped at a first-episode reveal that will propel all the action this season.
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SPOILER ALERT – DO NOT READ PAST THIS LINE IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN TONIGHT’S EPISODE
The series involves Kate’s return to the city when Sophie Moore (Meagan Tandy)—the high level security expert with the Crows protection agency that Kate has long been in love with—is kidnapped by Alice (Rachel Skarsten), the frightening leader of Wonderland Gang that is wreaking havoc on Gotham.
Kate is also haunted by the disappearance of her beloved cousin, Bruce Wayne, and her memories of being the only survivor of a car accident that claimed her mother and sister—an accident where Batman failed to save the rest of the family. Clearly, Alice is obsessed with both Kate and Sophie, and seeks to upend the safety efforts of Kate’s father, Jacob Kane (Dougray Scott), who runs the Crows.
But it is when Kate begins to follow her own destiny and unravel the past that much more is revealed. (SPOILERS AHEAD) Kate’s time in the bat cave reveals a number of clues to her own past—most notably (beyond realizing that Bruce Wayne is, of course, Batman) that Alice is actually her grown-up sister, Beth. That, and the knowledge that Sophie is now married to a man will create all kinds of issues for everybody involved from episode one.
The reveal brings Sophie and Kate closer together, though toward what end is anyone’s guess. “You see Sophie trying to understand what’s going on [with Kate] but it doesn’t make sense,” says Tandy, who shared the panel with Skarsten. “Alice is trying to kill people and Sophie is trying to save people with the Crows. I feel that between Jacob and Kate, I’m in this family triangle.”
Alice will no doubt intrigue fans, and Skarsten teases that this season will reveal her backstory, including her formation of the Wonderland Gang that convened at a decrepit Gotham orphanage. “We’ve filmed several more episodes, and they do delve in,” Skarsten said. “It all gave me a great deal of compassion for Alice and why she is the way she is. This season you’ll see her assembling her gang. Right now, it’s just the minions of her gang—and their costumes are so creepy.”
As to Alice herself, playing the role has been a dynamic challenge for Skarsten, one-time costar of Imposters and Lost Girl. “I think when I first took on Alice, I thought a lot about what was unnerving. What’s very unsettling with another human being is when a person is seemingly one thing, and then becomes another. I played around with that, and now I get to make a meal out of it, and sometimes I take it really far because Alice loves dramatics.”
Citing the once (and perhaps future) relationship between Kate and Sophie, Tandy said, “They split up abruptly, and there was no closure. Now that Kate is back, she’ll be going through a roller coaster.
“The really cool thing is, we’re gonna get all the answers about her,” Tandy continued. “There’ll be more of a flashback from [Kate and Sophie first meeting in] military school. There were very real-life things driving [her decisions back then]. I don’t want to reveal that, but you’ll get that. It’s really authentic, especially for black women.”
One thing fans in the audience were naturally concerned with was the inevitable crossover the series will have in the DCverse, due in December. “We’re actually not allowed to say anything,” Skarsten began. “But we can say it will have major implications on Gotham City going forward, and there are so many amazing people being brought back. It’ll be so much fun if you’re a fan of any or all of it.”
Other things we know for sure: Fans will see some familiar villains; namely, Magpie and Hush. And the one guarantee for any good superhero series—as Tandy put it, “With Batwoman protecting the people of Gotham [alongside the Crows], there’ll be some bumping of heads.”