Batwoman Comic-Con 2019 Panel Recap

We might still be awaiting Batwoman’s premiere on The CW, but she was definitely present at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, with displays on windows, buses, and even in the drink names at the WB party (a popular one was the Ruby Rosé). On Saturday, July 20th, following a screening of the pilot (when Kate came out in the batsuit for the first time, everyone in the audience cheered, and it was awesome), the Batwoman panel took place, with producers Caroline Dries and Sarah Schechter (Ruby
Rose was supposed to be making an appearance, but unfortunately had to cancel) taking center stage to answer questions first from the moderator, and then from the audience.

Everyone was excited to hear about what will be happening in the upcoming season, and the producers did not disappoint, dropping story inspirations and villains. The producers described how they started by sitting down and writing out Kate Kane’s timeline- she has an intricate backstory, and they had to decide what big moments they wanted to tell in the pilot. They said the hardest part of writing the pilot was choosing what parts to do in voiceover and what moments of the backstory to include, along with establishing a Gotham City without Batman present while he is still so much of the focus for the people there. As far as inspiration from the comics goes, Dries did a deep dive into the comics, especially with Elegy by Greg Rucka, so a lot of the show will be based on that storyline. When asked if Batwoman reflected the sentiment that Hollywood comes to comic con to get ideas, the producers said they had very lovingly gone to comics as the basis of the show- good storytelling is always based on great source material. The ongoing story format of comics is a natural fit for a tv series.

Both women commented on how important they felt it was to bring an out lesbian superhero leading her own show to television and credited the Berlanti shows for laying the groundwork for it by having a great representation of the LGBT+ community across their shows (like Legends of Tomorrow and Black Lightning). Of course, the epic impending crossover, Crisis On Infinite Earths was discussed, and they were able to announce that Bert Ward, who played Robin in the 1966 Batman live-action tv series
would be playing a character. The friendship between Barry and Oliver was the core of the crossover, and with Arrow coming to an end it was going to evolve into a Kate and Kara friendship. An extensive audition process was helmed by David Rappaport to find the right actress for Kate, and they had been fans of Ruby and were very happy to hear she was interested, and from the start, it was obvious she was the right fit. Ruby also does a lot of her own fights- they wanted it to feel like she trained in the military, different than a lot of the other shows in the Arrowverse. They loved watching her learn to fly and how brutal her fighting style was.

Central to Kate’s military backstory is the policy of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell- while it is now repealed, that did not happen until after Kate was in military school, so it was in
place for her. They said military school and the choices she had to make there will be returned to and discussed in depth. They described the storytelling style as very fast-paced- finding out what turns the characters into who they are. Dries had watched many hours of the Arrowverse, and she understood form and is experimenting with it in interesting ways, making each episode feel unique and unexpected. The show will be incorporating flashbacks, but not to a specific time or place (like on Arrow) but rather to different times and places. Faced with the question of Bruce Wayne ever showing up, all the producers said was that anything is possible.

DC Comics was strict with using Batman property, and much like Supergirl didn’t want Superman to be there right away, they wanted Batwoman to be able to get established on her own, finding her shoes her way. Batman continued to be a huge part of the conversation in the episodes because Kate is trying to get out of his shadow while consulting him through his writings and other things he left behind. They said they were looking forward to seeing Kate fall in love. An audience member asked about the possibility of Renee Montoya or Maggie Sawyer, both comic love interests for Kate, showing up. The producers said it was too early to tell with Renee- they couldn’t use her right now due to her involvement in the upcoming Birds of Prey movie. Maggie would be tricky- she’s already an established character on another earth. But I mean, anything’s possible, right? Especially with Crisis coming up….

As far as villains are concerned, they announced they would be introducing Tommy Elliot and his origins in becoming the supervillain Hush. The ladies confirmed they would not be revisiting any bat villains that already existed in the Arrowverse but would be bringing in new villains and new heroes. They confirmed Alice would be the big bad for the season- basically Batwoman’s version of the Joker. As a final audience question, someone asked what their plan was to make sure Kate isn’t pigeonholed into only focusing on her sexual identity. Dries and Schechter responded that Kate being gay is just another one of her traits- not a huge part of her story other than that she falls in love with a woman. Overall, the panel was an intriguing glance into the upcoming show, and I think many people are excited for Kate Kane to land in their living rooms this fall.

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