Batwoman boss breaks down [SPOILER]'s new identity, teases season 2's love triangles
Warning: This article contains spoilers about Sunday's season 1 finale of Batwoman.
Batwoman just put a face to one of DC Comics' most iconic characters.
In the freshman superhero drama's season finale, Alice (Rachel Skarsten) continued searching for Kryptonite despite Mouse begging her to give up this vendetta against her family and run away with him. Once Mouse (Sam Littlefield) realized she'd never do it, he threatened to leave her alone, but Alice killed him before he got the chance, refusing to be abandoned by yet another family member. Pour some tea out for Alice's former partner-in-crime.
After handling that conflict, Alice completed her "masterpiece": A new face that transformed the Bruce Wayne-obsessed Hush into, well, Bruce Wayne, who is revealed to be Alpha's Warren Christie. As the episode ended, Alice instructed Hush to enter Wayne Tower in disguise as the missing billionaire and take the Kryptonite shard from Kate (Ruby Rose). Thus, Alice and Hush's partnership has entered into a dangerous yet exciting new phase for season 2.
"We have a fun dynamic happening because it’s not Bruce Wayne, it’s Tommy Elliot, and Tommy and Alice have this really humorous relationship where Tommy is irrational and brash and hyper, and a little bit spastic, and Alice is calculated and has her own to-do list," Batwoman showrunner Caroline Dries tells EW. "So, it will be fun. I’m looking forward to throwing them in scenes together."
Below, EW chats with Dries about getting this twist approved and what's to come in season 2, which isn't expected until 2021.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How much negotiating did you do with DC to have Hush transform into Bruce Wayne?
CAROLINE DRIES: Yes, it felt very much like a negotiation. [Laughs] They were ready to play ball, but there’s this one caveat, which is that we needed to be on the A-side of the information. Meaning, originally, we wanted it that Bruce Wayne shows up, “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God,” [then] reveal “Holy s---, that’s Tommy Elliot.” But that wasn’t in the cards for us. So we were like, “What if we show you the A-side? We’re all in on it so nobody’s thinking it’s Bruce Wayne from the audience’s point of view. We’re not getting anybody’s hopes up.” And boom, we get to see how this lands on our heroes and watch them react to it.
Either way, you’re still putting a face to Bruce Wayne. What made Warren Christie the right person to play Batwoman’s Bruce Wayne, or at least his face?
His jawline is perfect. [Laughs] No, he’s such a good actor and when I saw he was available, I was like, “Hello, yes, Warren Christie, please!” So I called him and told him what would be happening and was like, “Please, please, please do this.” And he loved the idea because he’s a Batman fan and he has a kid and he thought it would be cool to tell his kid he’s playing Bruce Wayne. It kind of just worked out great.
In the back of your mind, did you have a dream casting for Bruce Wayne even though you knew he was off-limits?
Honestly, I didn’t. When I’m picturing Batman on our show, I kind of just picture Christian Bale because I’m obsessed with the Christopher Nolan movies. When I got the show, I inherited this rule of no Batman, no Bruce Wayne, so it never occurred to me to start daydreaming.
Can you tease how the Bat-Team will react?
That’s ultimately the drama of the story when we come back. Of course, they want Bruce to be back in their lives and so you kind of look past any kind of logic and it’s all replaced by hopefulness and happiness. It’s gonna take a minute for them to realize something is amiss.
Why was it important for Alice to kill Mouse?
To me, it’s Alice crossing this point of no return. It was a way of dramatizing how deeply important this drive is for her and how all-consuming it is; it’s just the way her psyche works. She sees what she wants and then it’s blinders to everything else and nothing’s going to stand in her way — and it’s what makes her such a scary villain. There’s really no negotiating with her. If she wants something, she’s going to find a way to get it at any cost.
In light of this being a point of no return for her, how does this change her?
In the moment of what we saw in the finale and as we could into season 2, the psychological ramifications of that, the emotional consequences of that, they’re not going to hit her right away. In the moment, the adrenaline is pushing you to make these decisions, and for someone like Alice, it will take a while for the gravitas of that move to really shake her to her core.
The finale sets up an interesting dynamic because Jacob, like Alice, is now on the hunt for something that can pierce the Bat-suit. Should we be worried about the lengths he’s willing to go to find it – like teaming up with Alice?
Exactly, yes. What we do in the finale is tee-up that there’s this one little shard of material that could kill Batwoman if need be, or at least penetrate her suit. So yeah, we’ve established that Alice wants it and Jacob wants it, so you can kind of see the writing on the wall.
How has this sudden ending impacted your plan for season 2?
It’s kind of easy to just take the two episodes that we didn’t shoot and roll them into season 2. But at the same time, it’s our responsibility as creators to tee-up season 2, to make it feel like it’s its own thing. We lucked out because the end of the episode is such a cliffhanger and it feels like a season-ending cliffhanger. Obviously we know that that drama is going to play out. But, I mean I’m going to keep some of the elements we’ve already prepped — they take a long time to develop, so I’m really excited about that — and then other things we’re going to shift around dynamics to make it feel like this is a new season [with] new dynamics, new drama.
Safiyah was mentioned once again this episode. What can we expect from your take on this character next season?
I love the Island of Coryana storyline with Safiyah and Kate in the comics. What I love about Safiyah is that she’s just this quiet presence who has a lot of gravitas when she walks into the room. What I loved about this season was seeing this huge chunk of Alice’s backstory where she went from this innocent girl to this woman who learned how to stand up for herself and face your abuser. But then we see Alice in present day as this woman who’s in charge of this Wonderland Gang and kills without mercy. So it’s like, how did she become that person? That’s sort of the next chapter of Alice’s story that I’m looking forward to exploring, and we’ve decided to make Safiyah an intimate part of that.
Was it always your plan to make Alice more of a series-long villain à la Tobias Whale on Black Lightning?
Yeah. I mean I think of it as Damon and Stefan on The Vampire Diaries. They’re attached, they’re family. Kate and Alice are twins, and so there’s the dichotomy and the inability to separate one from the other, really. So yeah, I never thought of her as a one-season villain.
In season 2, what new facet of their connection are you looking forward to exploring?
I would say the thing that we have not done this season is — we definitely set up this triangle of sisters with Alice, Kate, and Mary, and I think there’s a journey to be had between Alice and Mary. There’s the huge elephant in the room that she killed her mom, and Mary, in my opinion, has never had proper closure around that. Hopefully, there’s somewhere to go with that that doesn’t necessarily end in forgiveness, but it creates really juicy tension when they’re together in a room.
The season 2 logline that was released this week mentioned that a romance will shake up Luke and Mary’s dynamic. Can you clarify if that means they’re heading toward a romance?
I specifically made it nebulous because I don’t want to give away too much. But yes, one of my favorite dynamics on the show is obviously Luke and Mary, and what’s so successful about that relationship is that there are no sexual undertones in anything they do and yet the fans are like, “We want them together!” So this season, there will be romance but it’s not just going to happen right away and there’s going to be a love triangle, let’s put it that way.
That sentence also teases their development as sidekicks. What does that look like for Mary, who just joined the Bat Team?
Mary brings the heart to the Bat-Team and a little humanity, in my opinion. But the other thing she brings into it is her medical expertise, and we get to glimpse that a bit in the finale when she’s talking about the brain and why Titan is so messed up. But I want to keep her clinic alive, and we’ll find out that Mary’s medical expertise will become an incredibly important weapon in fighting the season’s bad guy.
CW President Mark Pedowitz announced that there were talks for a Batwoman and Superman & Lois crossover. What made those the right pairing?
I don’t know because I had heard rumors of it, but hearing it from The CW yesterday was the first time I was like, “Oh, okay, I guess this is happening.” So, I’m just as excited as everyone else and I love working with Todd Helbing, so I’m sure we’ll cook up something really special and you know, our finale touches on Kate and Kara and Kate is obviously very intimately knowledgeable about the Super-mythology. It’ll be interesting for them to work together. I’m obsessed with Lois Lane, so I’m really excited about that.
Luke is also aware of Superman as well, so there are a lot of established connections.
Exactly. Obviously this crossover, without even knowing what the story is going to be, I think it’s time now that we can bring more of our characters in on it. I was really protective of them in “Crisis” because it was like blowing open a whole genre world to our characters, but now people are a little bit more integrated.
Looking back on these 20 episodes, what are you most proud of from this season?
I’m really proud of the character development. I know that’s a really vague answer, but we really spent a lot of time developing, like, the Mary character for example — to the point that within eight or nine episodes, people were like, “Kate, tell her! Bring her on the Bat-Team!” The fact that people already were trusting this huge secret with Mary and wanted her to be intimately involved and thought she could be really helpful just kind of goes to show how strong of an actor we had, and how well we developed that character. You could say that for any of our characters really.
I’m also proud that we created a villain in Alice that is so villainous and, yet everyone seems to be rooting for her. That’s kind of hard to do because she’s done a lot of unforgivable things, including killing our favorite character, Mary’s mom. So it’s fun to be able to make people so three-dimensional that the audience is rooting for them.
Which character’s journey surprised you the most and deviated from the original plan?
We had sort of planned out all of these arcs from the beginning. The thing we weren’t planning was the Sophie-Julia-Kate love triangle, and I kind of love how that came about organically and added more layers to the Sophie-Kate endgame love story. That’s been really fun to write.
Batwoman season 1 is available to stream for free on The CW website and app.