Batwoman, New Batsuit & Representation: What we Learned at DC FanDome

Fans got a peek at all things under the cowl at DC's Fandome Explore the Multiverse event with a panel discussion from Batwoman's cast and creatives led by New York Times writer Trish Bendix and featuring Executive Producer/Showrunner Caroline Dries, Executive Producer Sarah Schechter plus cast members Javicia Leslie (Ryan Wilder/Batwoman), Rachel Skarsten (Alice), Meagan Tandy (Sophie), Nicole Kang (Mary), and Camrus Johnson (Luke Fox).

We learned how the new cast is gelling with one another, some hopes, and glimpses into Season 2. But this panel was mostly a lot of introduction to Javicia and how she is entering the universe. We also got some insight into the new batsuit and how fans are influencing its creation and look.

Batwoman's New Batsuit & Representation: What we Learned at DCFandome
DC Fandome's Batwoman panel featuring (from left to right, top to bottom) NY Times writer Trish Bendix, Executive Producer/Showrunner Caroline Dries, Executive Producer Sarah Schechter plus cast members Javicia Leslie (Ryan Wilder/Batwoman), Rachel Skarsten (Alice), Meagan Tandy (Sophie), Nicole Kang (Mary), and Camrus Johnson (Luke Fox).

Representation Matters

But the number one thing that came up over and over in the panel is the importance of representation in Batwoman. For a show that already boasts an incredibly diverse cast, everyone agreed that the addition of Javicia was a major coup. "We were already a family," said Camrus Johnson, so it was easy to welcome her in and now make it feel complete. Leslie felt so welcomed by everyone both on the show and across the entire universe, highlighting that Grant Gustin was welcoming her to the family. Several of the cast and producers also admitted to being fans of her previous work on God Friended Me. Nicole Kang also mentioned the importance they felt of the representation on the show. "I feel really lucky that someone who looks like me gets to be telling this family dynamic." [referring to the complicated mixed family of the Kanes and Hamiltons]

Her new co-star agrees. "It feels like an honor," said Javicia Leslie with a massive grin on her face about how it felt to be playing Batwoman. "I was looking on Instagram, and I was just scrolling through new followers, and I saw all these rainbows in their bios, and I just felt so. . . I felt like a representation. I felt like what I've always wanted to be, which is a role model. I feel honored. I feel excited. I feel like there are so many little Javicias that don't have voices, little black girls that don't have a voice, little bisexual, bi-curious, gay, lesbian, everything that didn't have voices, and I feel honored to be a voice for my community. And then to play a character that represents my community in the same way? That's not a common thing as an actress . . . It feels really powerful, and everything that's going on right now? This is what we need. We need to see representation."

This shouldn't be surprising for Leslie, who answered a question from fellow cast member Meagan Tandy about her artistic influences. "I was obsessed with Eartha Kitt," she answered while also mentioning Nina Simone, Kerry Washington, and Reese Witherspoon. "One of my reasons for being obsessed with Eartha Kitt and Nina Simone is they used their art for activism."

It should also then not come as any surprise as Leslie took everyone on a mini tour of her houseplants sitting behind her, whom she had named Diana Ross, Jimi Hendrix, Marvin Gaye, Huey P Newton, and Cher, among others. She admits being obsessed with plants and living things, calling herself a "plant mom," bonding with castmate Rachel Skarsten over her dogs as well.

The Batsuit and Batwoman fanart

But perhaps the best reveal of the panel is that the new batsuit is not quite finished yet, but there's a good reason. Taking a question from a fan from the US who prefaced their question by saying as a black trans woman that Javicia's casting made her feel seen, she asked if they'd done any costume fittings yet. And while they revealed they hadn't done any yet, they revealed that Javicia, Sarah, and Caroline had been doing a lot of thinking about how to make this Batwoman unique and still look like a black woman, having a natural textured hair, and so on.

"I can't wait. I have no idea. I just keep sending [Caroline] fan art," says Javicia.

"Seriously, the fan art is so inspiring," interjected Sarah Schechter.

The cast and creatives said to keep the fanart coming, as they're still tweaking their designs and inspired by what they see from the fandom.

Batwoman Season 2 Clues

Not a lot of news about what we can expect from Batwoman season 2 just yet, except that things are going to be quite different around Gotham; the actors expressed their hopes for the coming season in very coy terms, but we did pick up a few clues. Camrus Johnson expressed that one of the biggest hurdles for Luke Fox is that Luke doesn't trust anybody. And he'd just started to trust Kate Kane, but now here comes Ryan Wilder off the street, and that's going to be very difficult to start trusting her, especially with the secrets of the Batsuit.

Nicole Kang feels like there was this triangle of a relationship between her, Kate, and Alice, and now with Kate out of the picture, things are going to be very different between them. Rachel Skarsten interrupted, saying they should become besties and go shopping, asking Camrus Johnson to make up a ship name for them. (Mar-ice?) But seriously, Mary is going to have some strong feelings about the psychopath who murdered her mother. That's going to be a very interesting idea to explore.

And as for Sophie, it was expressed it would be interesting to see her rise as a sort of Jim Gordon type character who is able to play by the book but also bridge the divide between the worlds of the Crows, Gotham PD, and Team Batwoman.

Obviously, all of this and more, and we will keep you posted on new sightings of the batsuit and news about the upcoming season. You can watch the entire Batwoman panel here at DC's FanDome Online website.

About Andy Wilson

A mild mannered digital strategist working for an environmental nonprofit in Austin, TX roaming the interwebs fighting his nemeses by day, and by night consuming all manner of media. You can find him either on his couch or at the nearest Alamo Drafthouse catching the latest. Don't follow him on Twitter @CitizenAndy.

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