From Zeroes To Heroes
Batman is dead (again) – it’s time for Gotham Knights to step up
NOT A JOKE. NOT A HOAX. Batman’s death and unmasking serve as the catalyst for the new superhero drama Gotham Knights. In the aftermath of Bruce Wayne’s demise, his adopted son Turner gets blamed for the murder. To clear his name and figure out who framed him, Turner must ally himself with his BFF Stephanie Brown, Batman’s sidekick Carrie Kelley and the children of some of the Caped Crusader’s greatest enemies.
“Poor Turner,” co-showrunner James Stoteraux tells Red Alert. “His first big revelation is that his adopted father is Batman. Turner goes through that whiplash of realising that the person who took him in, loved him and cared for him had this whole other identity he never knew about. For Turner, that really opens up the question of, ‘Why didn’t he share that information with me? Why didn’t he tell me?’ One of the things we open the pilot with is this admission that he always wondered why his father adopted him,” he adds. “That is a question that will linger throughout the season, and he will ultimately discover the truth behind his adoption.”
Characters will need to decide whether to follow in the footsteps of their parents or carve out their own paths. Turner, however, isn’t the only individual grappling with his calling. The sins of Batman’s rogues’ gallery impact their offspring as well. Take Duela, who was raised in Arkham by the Joker.
“Everyone assumes Duela is going to turn out just like him, that she is going to become this terrible villain,” coshowrunner Chad Fiveash says. “That has very much forged her identity. Because everyone assumes she is a bad person, she is going to live up to that and become the worst bad person ever. For her, it’s, is she going to break out of that
and become something different? Or is she going to become what everybody in Gotham expects her to be?”
Then there’s Harvey Dent. As the current district attorney, he loves the city and believes it’s worth fighting for. But long-time comic book readers and moviegoers will be fully expecting that he eventually transitions from upstanding citizen into the disfigured and maniacal menace Two-face… and they wouldn’t be wrong.
“We love having a rich landscape to tell his tragic downfall,” says Stoteraux. “Casting Misha Collins was incredibly important. We wanted someone who could capture Harvey Dent’s innate goodness and sense of justice and drive to make Gotham a better place. We know where this character is ultimately going, becoming this arch-villain Two-face, so we wanted somebody who really conveyed Harvey’s goodness before we get there.
“In the wake of Batman’s death, he is rising to the challenge of who is going to save the city. Harvey is going to do it through a sense of justice and not through being a vigilante, but by being a public official who is out there. What could go wrong?”
Turner and company will be hounded by everyone in Gotham. To further push the Knights to their limits, the first season will feature one of the most feared organisations from Batman lore as the main antagonist: the Court of Owls. This clandestine criminal society promises to provide the perfect foil to the young heroes.
“Our Knights are taken to their lowest levels,” Fiveash says. “They are being hunted. They have the least amount of power, so for a
We wanted someone who could capture Harvey Dent’s innate goodness
villain, we wanted the people who had the most amount of power and control everything. Throughout history, they have wielded this power, so they felt like the perfect villain for our Knights to go up against.”
As Robin, Carrie is the most experienced vigilante of the group – she arrives on the scene already sporting a supersuit. For the other characters, however, it will be a slow evolution.
“One of the things in the story that we are telling is how they go from being these wanted fugitives – who are just trying to clear their names – to finding themselves and being expected to be heroes,” Fiveash says. “It is going to be a bit of a journey before we see them fully embrace costumes.”
Something else audiences can expect to see are foundational characters and Easter eggs from the Batverse. For example, Joe Chill, the man who killed Bruce Wayne’s parents, will be popping up. And there’s much more to come.
“Joe Chill effectively created Batman,” Stoteraux concludes. “We are also going to see Stephanie Brown’s father, Arthur. We will tell his origin, which will allow for him to progress to where you know it goes [supervillain Cluemaster]. A lot of the show is being able to take things back to the beginning.”
Gotham Knights is on The CW from 14 March. UK details are TBC.