Batwoman star says that major deviation from the comics changes everything for Luke
Warning: This article contains spoilers for Batwoman episode 6, “I’ll Be Judge, I’ll Be Jury.”
After five episodes, Batwoman will finally reveal the whereabouts of Luke Fox’s father, Lucius Fox.
Ever since Camrus Johnson was cast as Luke, comic book readers have wondered about his dad’s status because Lucius — famously played by Morgan Freeman in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy — is one of Batman’s main associates in the comics. In Sunday’s episode, viewers will learn that Lucius died sometime before the superhero drama started, which is a major deviation from canon and explains why Luke was working for/with Batman before he disappeared three years ago. Not only that, but this week’s installment will also kick off Luke’s emotional arc for the season.
Below, EW chats with Johnson about how Lucius’ passing creates a “brand-new Luke” from the comics, the evolution of Luke’s dynamic with Kate/Batwoman (Ruby Rose), and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The logline says Luke confides in Kate. What can you tease about that?
CAMRUS JOHNSON: We finally dive a little bit into Luke’s backstory. We haven’t been able to really talk about what happened before the show started or where Lucius Fox is. Within this episode, he finally confides in Kate and talks a little bit about all of that, his relationship with his dad, and what happened to him. I’m pretty excited for the audience to finally get that answer because they’ve been asking what happened Lucius and where he is for a long time.
Did Caroline [Dries, the showrunner] tell you Luke’s backstory before you signed on, or did you learn Lucius was dead from this script?
[After] I got to read the [pilot] script, that’s when [Caroline] gave me the backstory of what exactly happened. She explained his relationship with Lucius and how Lucius passed, [and] she teased to me that he would grow throughout the season as that relationship with the passing gets different and gets stronger or worse.
So this is a major part of his arc in the first season?
Exactly. I always find that it’s very interesting how people react to people close to them passing away, because it’s not something that just happens and goes away. It sort of festers inside of you for such a long time. For a lot of people, it lasts for many, many years. Personally, when my grandpa passed, I didn’t really get over it for about two or three years. So I think that’s going to be part of Luke’s arc. Although he seems okay and he’s not very good at talking about it, he [tries to] go past it. I think eventually you’ll see his real feelings about the situation grow and grow and grow until he can truly heal from it.
Were you surprised when you found out that Lucius Fox was dead?
[I was] fully surprised because in the comic books, Luke is keeping his job and so many secrets from his dad; his relationship with Lucius is so important to the Luke Fox that I read in the comic. So to start this show off with Lucius being dead is very interesting because there’s a whole different side of the Luke Fox that I knew. It makes a brand-new Luke Fox because his icon, the dad he loved so much and wishes that he could protect, and the person that was his link to Bruce Wayne and Batman in the beginning, [is] not even there anymore. It was a total surprise to me, and I’m sure it’s now a total surprise to the fans to be able to see why Luke is where he is and why Lucius isn’t around.
Kate has also dealt with grief. Does this end up bringing them closer?
It’s hard to say if it brings them closer because, as you can tell, Luke doesn’t have much of a social life or personal life. I think talking to Kate about his father’s passing is gonna feel pretty awkward [and] a little misplaced because there’s no telling when’s the last time he even brought this up, the last time he even opened this can of worms. So if it does bring them closer, I don’t think Luke was doing that purposely. He’s not one to really get emotional, so once he brings it up, he sort of moves past it pretty quickly. So, it gets them closer in a way that Kate finally gets to see a little bit inside of him that she hasn’t been able to see quite yet. I don’t think Luke is any less closed off than he was before.
Right now it feels like Kate and Luke are mainly just co-workers. Can we expect their relationship to grow into a real a friendship?
It’s hard to say. I like to [think] that they’ve been “friends” for quite some time, maybe even since the third or fourth episode, but only because Luke doesn’t really have a lot. You saw the way he interacted with her in the first episode and he was very protective of his things and not very trusting. Then only a few episodes in, he suddenly gave her so much trust and believed in her so much to be the hero of the city. To Luke, that is a very huge form of friendship to him. I think he’ll always be a bit guarded because I think Gotham, the Batman legacy, and his dad’s legacy [are] the most important things to him. So, [with] his relationships with other people, including Kate Kane, he wouldn’t want that to get in the way of his goals and dreams for his city.
But I do see him and Kate getting closer because I feel like they must. As they continue to sort of co-hero or team up to take down Alice and all of these other bad guys, that will naturally make them be closer and become more on the foot of best friends because they’re gonna end up seeing each other so much, and not only with Luke confiding in her. I think Kate needs him because of all of her family drama and all the things happening with her sister.
In preparing for this role and your take on Luke Fox, did you look to previous takes on Lucius Fox on TV and in the movies for inspiration?
I actually did. Of course I watched Morgan Freeman’s Lucius Fox, the most famous Lucius Fox. I also watched a lot of Lucius Foxes in the animated projects. I believe it was Batman: Bad Blood. Watching Lucius in that was very interesting.
What I liked about Luke is, because I want him to grow over the show, I didn’t want him to feel as stoic as Lucius yet. He has so much more time to grow and get better at his job and really be the Lucius to Kate as he was to Batman. There’s always a similar heart to every Lucius that I’ve seen. I wanted Luke to have a very similar heart, but I wanted him to have a lot more energy, talk faster, and be a lot more nervous because he’s not his dad and he’s trying to fill this space and be the man in the chair behind the computer. He’s struggling and he will be struggling for some time because he’s new to this. So I like picturing Lucius as an end goal.
Batwoman airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the CW.