Batwoman showrunner Caroline Dries and actor Shivaani Ghai preview Safiyah's long-awaited introduction and complicated relationship with Alice.
Credit: Dean Buscher/THE CW

Bow down for the Queen of Coryana: EW is exclusively debuting a first look at Shivaani Ghai (Dominion) as Safiyah in Batwoman season 2. Check out the images above and below.

The dangerous ruler of the island of Coryana, Safiyah is primarily concerned with guarding the Desert Rose, a rare flower with special healing properties grown on the island, and has a coterie of mercenaries at her beck and call (like the Rifle from season 1). As we learned in the CW superhero drama's first season, Safiyah has a complicated history with Alice (Rachel Skarsten), who shuddered whenever the adversary was mentioned last year. (Remember, Safiyah killed Alice's Wonderland Gang and tried to assassinate Alice's sister Kate, a.k.a. Batwoman).

With Safiyah's introduction in season 2, we'll finally learn why there's bad blood between these two women and what role Safiyah played in Alice/Beth becoming a supervillain.

"She's not what we expected from season 1," Ghai tells EW. "She does come across as someone who is quite charming and kind. She has a definite soft spot for Alice. You will learn as we go on that there's definitely a much deeper relationship there."

Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW

As we already know, season 2 begins with Kate's mysterious disappearance, which is what leads to Javicia Leslie's Ryan Wilder becoming Gotham City's new Batwoman. Kate's absence, however, also colors how Alice handles Safiyah because plotting Kate's demise was Alice's raison d'etre toward the end of season 1 and without that, she starts reeling and turns her attention toward her formidable foe across the sea.

"In season 2, Alice starts the season with nothing left to lose, so her perspective of Safiyah shifts a little bit," says Batwoman showrunner Caroline Dries. "She's less afraid because she's got [Safiyah] in her sights, and what does she have to lose? Her whole plan for killing her sister went down the drain."

Dries is particularly excited for audiences to see Ghai and Skarsten's first scene together. "Their dynamic is amazing, because Alice is [normally] the strongest, most manipulative person in the room. And when she's with Safiyah, she's a little differential to Safiyah," says the producer. "It's a new dynamic and it's very intriguing to watch."

Batwoman season 2 — starring Javicia Leslie as the titular superhero — premieres Sunday at 8 p.m.

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