WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the series premiere of Batwoman, which aired Sunday on The CW.
When the pilot of The CW's Batwoman ended on a game-changing twist, star Rachel Skarsten has only one thought: "I’m so glad you guys are in on it now."
Skarsten told that to the crowd that packed Madison Square Garden for Warner Bros.' New York Comic Con presentations. As part of the Batwoman portion, the audience got to see the highly anticipated premiere mere hours before the episode aired Sunday onThe CW. What followed was a discussion, focused mainly on the revelation that Skarsten's villain Alice is actually Beth Kane, the sister of main character Kate Kane (Ruby Rose) and assumed to be dead.
"I love it," Skarsten said. "I think it’s bold. It gives Ruby and I so much more to play with, to explore the depth of that relationship."
This is not Skarsten's first superhero rodeo, or even her foray with DC. She previously played Dinah Lance on 2002's Birds of Prey. And it was the duality of Alice that caused her to dive once more into the world of comic books.
"Alice is always caught between these two personalities and realities," she said. "There’s a Beth side that exists and wants to protect Kate and everything she loves. Then there’s Alice, who’s jealous of Kate’s affections and has a plan that only includes her and Kate. We dance between those two things."
Despite's Alice's occasionally unhinged nature, Skarsten is hesitant to use the term "crazy" to describe her.
"The word ‘crazy’ is a challenging word," she said. "I always felt it was unsettling when someone was so seemingly one thing and on a dime became another. I played around a lot with that, and now I get to make a meal out of it. Alice loves dramatics, and that what makes her so delicious."
The premiere saw many of Kate's relationships play out, including with former flame Sophie Moore (Meagan Tandy). Flashbacks reveal their paths diverging when their relationship is outed during their time at military school. When their instructors asked them to deny being together, Kate refused, while Sophie reluctantly obliged. Kate was then sent off by her father Jacob (Dougray Scott), while Sophie rose through the ranks within the Crows security firm, and now serves under Jacob.
"I’m the daughter that he never had in Kate," Tandy said. "I’m second-in-command with the Crows, which is a position he would have given to Kate if she took the path he wanted him too. I’m in this family triangle."
Tandy also teased that the season would unleash more moments that look further into Kate and Sophie's relationship before it fell apart. "There will be more flashbacks from military school, why Sophie did what she did," she said. "There were very real-life things driving that. It’s so real and really authentic, and I think black women will be able to relate."
Kate's return to Gotham after so long certainly sets up an awkward reintroduction to her relationship with Sophie. It isn't helped that she's married since they saw each other last.
"Legally, it’s definitely very real," Tandy said. "Emotionally and in her mind, is she there with him? That’s what you’re going to be exploring with her. Now that Kate is back, there are a lot of things that have come to the forefront. When they split up in military school, it happened so abruptly so there was no closure. There was a lot of unfinished business."
Tandy also expressed extreme gratitude for playing an LGBTQ+ character, saying it has "magnified her role on Earth." She hopes Batwoman will provide an opportunity for people to have more empathy and understanding for those in the queer community.
In addition to breaking down their own characters, Skarsten and Tandy also teased what's to come as Batwoman's first season unfolds. With Alice now revealed as Beth, the coming episodes will show what became of her since she plunged into a river all those years ago, and how she became the person she did. In the present, she'll also work to assemble the Wonderland gang, which will include Tommy Elliot (Gabriel Mann), a childhood friend of Bruce Wayne's who returns to Gotham mistakenly assuming the return of Batman.
Discussion inevitably turned to the upcoming Arrowverse Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event coming later this year, which will feature the Batwoman cast. Though they were forbidden from revealing any details, they confirmed that the events of the crossover will have major repercussions on Gotham in the episodes following.
Airing Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW, Batwoman stars Ruby Rose, Rachel Skarsten, Meagan Tandy, Camrus Johnson, Dougray Scott, Elizabeth Anweis and Nicole Kang.