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Batwoman herself wasn’t present for the upcoming CW series’ San Diego Comic-Con debut.
Batwoman star Ruby Rose was apparently unable to leave the show’s Vancouver set due to a demanding production schedule, as she announced on Instagram a few days before. But executive producers Caroline Dries and Sarah Schechter were on hand Saturday for a panel following a screening of the series’ pilot.
“I’m not going to be there, which stinks a lot. But just know that we tried everything that we could humanly to be there,” Rose said in an Instagram video. “It wasn’t until really now that we realized there wasn’t any other way to finish this … ambitious episode that we’re doing and create this amazing show that really is special.”
She continued, “We want you to love it and be proud of it and be entertained and to laugh and to cry and to be empowered. And that means that in this particular instance, I’ve got to work and bring Kate Kane, Batwoman, to the screen.”
While audiences were introduced to the character in the 2018 CW Arrow-verse “Elseworlds” crossover, the first few episodes of the series will take place before those events, offering an origin story of sorts for the character. Batwoman will follow Kate Kane (Rose), the first out lesbian superhero headlining her own series, as she returns to her home of Gotham and battles her own demons while becoming a symbol of hope for her fellow citizens as she battles the city’s criminal resurgence.
As established in “Elseworlds,” Batwoman takes place on the same Earth in the DC multiverse as Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow and, along with Supergirl, will be a part of the Arrow-verse’s massive five-show crossover event “Crisis on Infinite Earths” later this year. (And, say Dries and Schechter, that new crossover will see a friendship blossom between Kate and Kara Danvers, a.k.a. Supergirl.)
Batwoman might be the fifth TV series set in the shared universe, but it’s made headlines because of its groundbreaking status as the first superhero series focused on an out lesbian hero.
“I think representation is everything, and diversity is our strength,” said Schechter, who executive produces all five shows involved in “Crisis.” “So we love this character and we love her sexuality, and we love her beyond her sexuality. She’s an epic hero, and her story deserved to be told, but we’re really proud to have an out lesbian woman be front and center in one of these shows.”
Added Dries, “This character is getting a lot of attention for being the first gay superhero [with a] title show. But really, the [Greg] Berlanti shows have been laying the groundwork for a show like this to exist.”
In the comics, the now-defunct U.S. military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy played a pivotal role in Kate Kane’s origin story. But since its repeal happened before the show’s Kate was enrolled, the military school the character attends in the series still has that policy.
“Because that was such a milestone moment in her life, we knew we had to hint at that in the pilot,” said Dries. “Moving forward in the series, we will return to Point Rock Academy because that decision is such a big deal that she made.”
They producers touched on a pivotal pilot twist, which received a passionate reaction in the room (as did the first reveal of Kate Kane in her Batsuit), and said they wanted to reveal it as early as possible because of the fact that its inspiration comes from the comics, which means many fans already know the connections.
“Really Kate’s journey over the course of season one is trying to redeem the humanity that she knows is still inside this monster,” Dries said.
The villain introduced in the pilot, Alice (Rachel Skarsten), will be the big bad of the first season, but there will be more from Batman’s Rogue’s Gallery that pop up throughout the season. Tommy Elliot, who ultimately becomes Hush, is one of them.
“Because you’ve seen so many different versions of [Batman’s villains],” Dries said, “we’re trying to find a different way in.” That means seeing some of Hush’s origin story.
Additionally, “We are not going to repeat villains from the Arrow-verse. We’re using a whole new chapter of villains and heroes,” Dries said.
The series only just began shooting its first season, so there will be more casting announcements to come, but Dries and Schechter revealed that Burt Ward, who played Robin in the 1960s Batman TV series, will make an appearance.
Said Dries, “We’re doing a deep dive into the DC Universe.”
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