Batwoman's iconic red wig is easily the most standout part of her design. It translated perfectly to the screen in last year's Elseworlds, the first appearance of the character in the Arrowverse. Despite that, it hasn't shown up in any of the promo footage for the show's early marketing. As odd as it seems for such an important visual for the character to be absent, it makes sense for the long game that the show seems to be playing with Kate Kane's development.
Greg Berlanti has confirmed that the series will initially take place before Elseworlds, acting as an origin for Batwoman. To this end, the show will aim to build up Kate's world and personal life before the cowl. Conversely, the Gotham City that Kate has inherited is vastly different from how it's usually portrayed in Batman adaptations. Batman is already firmly established, but also missing for years. This has robbed the citizens of Gotham of hope. The show should establish the everyday status quo of the series before dropping it's hero in, fully formed.
Spacing out the world-building for the show's city and protagonist would also mirror Arrow. That show waited several seasons before finally giving fans Green Arrow. While Batwoman obviously won't take that long, it would be served well to imitate Arrow's patience. With Arrow ending, Batwoman would be the perfect spiritual successor in both tone and development. If Oliver Queen didn't take up his iconic moniker until Season 4, Kate can wait a little bit for her hairpiece.
After getting the hang of the superhero gig, Kate is going to want to make her own personal mark on Gotham. Berlanti has stated that, by the third episode, the iconic wig will finally appear. This will all be part of Kate's development. Initially just trying to take down a certain enemy, Kate will choose to remain a vigilante. From there, she'll form her personal identity as Batwoman, distancing herself from Bruce's role. Berlanti didn't say that the rest of the costume will change after the third episode. This leaves room for further development as Kate defines the Batwoman role.
This will also make Kate's becoming Batwoman that much more of a dramatic and personal event. Instead of giving viewers what they expect at the beginning of the series, the show will take them on the journey with Kate. Kate's particularly brash behavior has stood out in early footage. Perhaps the unexpected struggle of protecting Gotham will humble Kate, who will then decide to try things differently. The wig may also have a personal significance in the series, which will be revealed in the initial episodes.
Kate may also want to start as a crimefighter by using the Batman legacy to its fullest. The completely black suit seen in early promos is clearly made for a woman. It lacks, however, the red accoutrements in the later costume, and is still recognizably Batman-based. The idea that Batman has returned to defend Gotham City would have two effects. For one, the poor and downtrodden would again be able to have some hope in their crime-ridden city. The Gotham City Police Department may also issue a sigh of relief, once again having a vigilante to make their lives easier.
Conversely, the criminal element in the city would have a reason to fear going out again. The inevitable, horrified "Is that Batman?" is sure to be spoken in at least a few scenes in the show's first season. Major villains, such as Batwoman's nemesis Alice, may step up their game in response to Batwoman's presence. Smaller crime syndicates, however, will shrink to avoid the wrath of anyone related to Batman. As Batwoman grows a presence of her own, the need to be seen as Batman will diminish. From there, the need to make her own name known will replace it, hence the characteristic red wig.
Written by Caroline Dries and developed by Bertlanti Productions and Warner Bros. Television, Batwoman stars Ruby Rose, Rachel Skarsten, Meagan Tandy, Camrus Johnson, Dougray Scott, Elizabeth Anweis and Nicole Kang. The series will premiere on Sunday, Oct. 6 , at 8 p.m. on The CW.