'Batwoman' CW Show Will Look More Like 'Joker' Than the Arrowverse

With maybe just a touch of 'Gotham.'

The CW’s Arrowverse sometimes feels like a teen drama that just happens to feature superheroes like The Flash and Green Arrow, but when Batwoman premieres on the network this fall, it will be different. The new series, first teased in an Arrowverse crossover last year, won’t even compare to Fox’s gritty Gotham.

Instead, Batwoman production designer Lisa Soper tells Inverse the new CW superhero show will feel more like the upcoming Joker movie starring Joaquin Phoenix, with its dark take on a hero-less Gotham City on the verge of being swallowed by crime.

“I just watched the trailer for Joker, and Batwoman feels very much more in that realm tonally,” Soper says.

Soper was integral in developing the unique style of Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina with its magical town seemingly unstuck in time. Now she’s applied her skills to Batwoman.

Fans got a glimpse at the new series from The CW when the first trailer released in May, revealing a complex take on Kate Kane slightly less confident than the fully-formed Batwoman we met in the Arrowverse “Elseworlds” crossover.

“I will definitely say that we have created something completely different,” Soper says. “The crossover was very much a taste and introduction to Kate Kane and Batwoman, giving the audience a little teaser.”

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Ruby Rose as Batwoman in the "Elseworlds" Arrowverse crossover in December 2018.

This new take on Gotham City could more closely resemble Fox’s Gotham series than it does anything else in the Arrowverse, even if Soper likes to compare Batwoman to Joker.

“We did look at Gotham quite a bit in the early days when we got started,” Soper says. “We wanted to make sure that we weren’t making Gotham.”

Despite different the different time settings and context of the shows — Gotham is a Batman prequel that takes place when Bruce Wayne is just a boy, while Batwoman occurs decades later, long after he’s retired as the Caped Crusader — the two series share one obvious similarity: Gotham without its Dark Knight.

“What does Gotham look like after Batman’s gone?” Soper says. “We had to put ourselves in a polar opposite spectrum of where Gotham has been.”

To do that, she explored how DC Comics differentiated the characters.

“I really wanted to lean into the color palette of the comic book itself, which is that monochromatic field with those punches of red,” Soper says. “Gotham is a lot more into the blues and the golds. We both have nods into the Art Deco elements of our world, but I went a little bit more edgy stylistically.”

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Many of the Batwoman comics feel close to monochromatic, so the red accent colors really pop.

In the trailer for Batwoman, Kate Kane uses a modified version of her cousin’s Batman costume to do some crime-fighting, but once the public mistakes her for Batman, she realizes that she has to differentiate. That’s why we get the bold splashes of red including the ridiculous, awesome wig.

But it’s not just the wig. Everything in the Batwoman trailer looks real, even the Batcave. It’s a far cry from the angsty superhero drama of the Arrowverse, and it’s just the beginning.

“I believe that we’ve kick-started a Gotham City that everybody’s going to be pretty excited about,” Soper says. “It’s not Sabrina, it’s not The Flash, it’s not Arrow — It’s Batwoman.


Batwoman premieres on The CW this fall.

Media via The CW, DC Comics