There’s never really been a pleasant version of Gotham City, has there? Even in the most colorful and friendly version of the Batman mythos, there are still literal murder clowns running through the streets, armed with poison gas. Now, the Arrowverse version of Gotham has finally been revealed in The CW's DCTV "Elseworlds" crossover, and it’s an even rougher than most versions we’ve seen on television or film. It’s so bad, it’s just barely a step above the outright no man’s land from Dark Knight Rises or Gotham.
But this version of Gotham does have one very bright highlight -- namely, Kate Kane, aka Batwoman. Played by Ruby Rose, Kane and her version of Gotham City has already left such an impression, we can’t wait for her to get her own show. Ahead of the event's airing, CBR was invited to a Q&A press screening with writer Caroline Dries, who is helming the upcoming Arrowverse project and helping bring Batwoman to the small screen, full time. During the event, the writer answered a number of questions about what she -- and the rest of the Arrowverse creatives -- hope the future holds for this new, not-so-dark knight.
To Live (And Die) In Crime Alley
The Gotham City of the Arrowverse is in full-on disarray, despite everything Batman did to protect it. When we arrive, Batman himself is conspicuously absent, having apparently left the city three years ago. It’s unknown where he went, or why, but it’s clear that Gotham has not been doing well without either of Bruce Wayne's identities. When we first meet the city and the people residing in it, there’s a general feeling of “this is just how things work,” no matter how bad it gets.
Part of that feeling is deliberate, Dries explained. “When we were talking about the heroes going to Gotham, we wanted to find a setting that differentiated it from other [versions of] Gotham in today’s viewing world. I think [Gotham’s] Gotham is in New York, and this one -- we loved the idea of Chicago, because that really feels like that was the cityscape we were looking for... It’s Gotham, there’s a million different versions of it, so it’s kind of hard to do a new version of it but we just kind of knew the Vancouver skyline wasn’t quite right. It was a little too modern.”
We quickly learned that the Wayne Board of Investors essentially blew much of the city's money on get-rich-quick schemes, and now the metropolis has devolved into the worst case version of a class divide. The rich travel around the city with personal security, while the poor are so embolden by the way the status quo treats them, that some of them will mug people in broad daylight -- like a group tries to do to Oliver, Barry and Kara when they first arrive.
In short, it’s not going great for the Arrowverse's Gotham. Dries explained that idea was at the very core of this take. “It has a darker vibe," she said. "When they went to Gotham, we were just trying to create, with the music and the exteriors, the alleys and the grime… It’s sort of an uncomfortable city. Being mugged instantaneously is a great way to personify the vibe we’re going for.”