Without Batman there, the city is protected by Batwoman, aka Kate Kane – as played by Ruby Rose. Rose brings a steeliness to the character, but not without flashes of humanity peeking through. She doesn’t capture the other heroes and interrogate them; she recognizes them as fellow heroes, even if they are annoying her by being in her city.
She even bonds with Supergirl, hinting at a more relaxed core underneath all the layers of toughness she’s developed over the years. With Kara, she’s friendly, and even a bit flirty. There are already layers to the performance, and Rose throws herself into the part with gusto, figuring out how to meld Kate’s hidden humanity and unstoppable drive perfectly within a single episode.
She's also already perfected the classic “Bat glare,” which is on display when we first meet her in the episode. Dries spoke about Rose's performance, saying, “Ruby has a really strong silent presence… her look is powerful, and you don’t want to take your eyes off of her. She kind of just brings so much to the plate, with just standing there and absorbing what the others are talking about.
“One of my favorite moments was when they show up at Wayne Enterprises and they’re all kind of bickering about Batman, and she’s just standing there, waiting for them to figure out this stuff. I didn’t know how working with her would be actually on the day, but that was a fun surprise.”
Dries and the other creators had an uphill battle with establishing Batwoman; not only do they need to introduce viewers to Kate Kane as both the person and the super hero, they also had to establish the tone of this version of Gotham City, including the various threats that plague it within and without the halls of Arkham Asylum. What's more, they had to figure out and tease what actually happened to Batman in the Arrowverse, all within a single episode during a crossover.
But everything in this version of Gotham is so immediately defined and lived in, it works. Arkham is filled with the classic Batman rouges gallery, presenting Kate with a wide range of villains to come up against. Her base isn’t Wayne Manor, but instead a run-down Wayne Enterprises building she's committed to repairing, a space that could easily become her HQ going forward. There are hints about some of the allies she might call upon, and even the Bat-Signal (covered in dust and forgotten on a rooftop in Gotham) makes a notable appearance, all adding layers to this version of Gotham.
But at its core, what makes Batwoman work so well, so quickly, is the confidence of the storytelling. “As a group, we really knew who the character was as we were breaking the story,” Dries said. “Our goal was sort of trying to set-up, story-wise, where we could meet her, be kind of intrigued by her, introduce Gotham a little bit. Plant little visual things that are curious and then have people wondering, ‘What is this world that she’s part of?’ We just realized the best story for that would be if our guys just went to Gotham, she helped out with their story, and then shoo-ed them away. We knew who the character was, kinda, going into it, so the question for us was how to make her mysterious.”
Batwoman is scheduled to premiere sometime in 2019. Elseworlds Part Three airs as the next episode of Supergirl, 8 pm EST on Tuesday.