The DC TV universe is changing all the time, but there’s one move that could really flip DC’s complex television universe on its head: letting Alex Danvers become Batwoman on Supergirl. If it seems like a stretch, bear with us. Supergirl has gone out of its way this season to tease the existence of the Batfamily.
Admittedly, Alex Danvers and Kate Kane are different in a lot of ways. Kate is a wealthy heiress who, though she attended a military academy before she was expelled for her sexuality, doesn’t have a day job with the military or the D.E.O. Alex isn’t a member of a wealthy and influential family, but a D.E.O. agent who’s committed her entire adult life to protecting her sister and safeguarding her city from “extranormal” threats; it’s not something she took up after a run-in with Batman.
But for all their differences, Alex and Kate also have a striking number of similarities, not the least of which being that they’re both queer women fighting aliens and superhumans in the DC universe. They’re also both trained in combat, albeit through different avenues, and they have vast resources at their disposal — Kate through the deep pockets of her family and Alex through the D.E.O. They both use armor and experimental weaponry that falls way outside of civilian purview, and it’s not hard to imagine the D.E.O. as a kind of de facto Batcave for Alex.
The two also share similar abilities. Neither has superpowers or the help of alien physiology that renders them super in the light of a yellow sun, so they rely on advanced technology and combat skills. And though she does it from Gotham, not National City, Kate Kane’s been known to team up with the D.E.O. as an operative solving cases. That’s decidedly pretty Alex Danvers of her.
Then there’s Maggie Sawyer. Maggie made her first comic book appearance in 1987 and was one of the first openly gay characters in mainstream comics. She’s appeared alongside Batman and Superman and has served on the police force in both Gotham City and Metropolis, but for the better part of a decade, Maggie Sawyer’s comic identity has been linked to Batwoman, who proposed to Maggie in Batwoman #17 in 2013
Supergirl’s Maggie Sawyer lives in National City and, as far as we know, Batwoman’s nowhere to be found. Even so, everything Supergirl’s done with Alex and Maggie thus far suggests that their relationship is going to be a central focus for the season. It’s not hard to imagine that in tapping a character like Maggie Sawyer, who has quite a bit of well-known comic book history, Supergirl might be setting into motion a grand plan with a touch of heroism where Alex is concerned.
It’s also worth noting that there’s a reading of the season thus far that might foreshadow Alex’s heroic transformation. In coming out, Alex struggled to reconcile a newly discovered part of herself with the person she’d always thought she was. The struggle that comes with coming out has long been tied to the idea of superheroes, who often must contend with keeping a part of themselves secret. It was a big part of Kara’s journey in Season 1, and Alex coming to terms with her sexuality and taking on a new identity as one of National City’s superheroes might be pretty damn poetic.
There was also a little nod to at least one Bat-hero in last night’s episode as Kara said, “My cousin worked with a vigilante once. Tons of gadgets. Lots of demons. Vigilantes are nuts.”
Then there’s the matter of the eye masks. In Episode 4, Maggie and Alex attend a pop-up event in masks and come to find out that it’s an underground alien fight club. It could easily be nothing — just a case of reading too much into it — but perhaps the sight of Alex in something that’s not terribly dissimilar to Batwoman’s signature eye mask is a bit of foreshadowing. That said, we have no idea what Supergirl might be hinting at with Maggie and Alex playing so much pool.
It’s not a perfect theory, of course. Alex Danvers isn’t Kate Kane. Though it isn’t always Kate who takes up the Batwoman mantle, she’s held it most consistently, and it’ll be Kate Kane who appears as Batwoman in DC’s upcoming Batwoman series in 2017. Having different characters appearing as Batwoman in the comic books and TV series might be confusing. That said, the fact that Batwoman is one of just a handful of comics getting the Rebirth treatment in early 2017 signals a serious commitment to the character on DC’s part.
Finding a way to bring her into the already strong DC TV universe seems natural, and seeing Batwoman make her way into the TV universe through Supergirl, which has built itself up around the core theme of female empowerment, has the power to be seismic. Because despite the considerable differences between Alex Danvers and Kate Kane as characters, leaning into the possibilities that might arise from two different women taking up the mantle of Batwoman could give all of DC’s television properties an unprecedented kind of freedom.