The CW TV network began its journey back in 2006 by airing the pioneering superhero series “Smallville” and has come a long way since then as it introduced the audience to several fan favorites. However, in recent years, the network has faced significant challenges to survive in the oversaturated market for superhero content as its production quality and writing department have often fallen short of even the basics. Therefore, when the news of a “Gotham Knights” series (not related to the game in any way) started making the rounds, it was understandably received with much skepticism and caution.
On the other hand, a teenage drama based on Bat family members might just be the shot in the arm the network needs to survive after the Arrowverse officially ends with the ninth season of “The Flash.” With just a day remaining until the release of its pilot episode, fans have to hope for a miracle like “Superman and Lois,” which is also set in the same universe, to happen to keep the series afloat. We will take a look at the details of what we already know about “Gotham Knights” so far so that viewers can easily connect once it starts airing.
‘Gotham Knights’ Plotline
Produced by the oft-super-show collaborators of DC, Berlanti Productions, “Gotham Knights” will see some of the established comic counterparts appear along with some series-exclusive characters played by an ensemble of teenage cast members. As suggested in the lengthy trailer, “Gotham Knights” will follow Turner Hayes, the adopted son of Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, as the primary protagonist, who comes to know about his father’s secret identity on the night Bruce gets murdered. District Attorney Harvey Dent brings in three prime suspects: Harper Row, Cullen Row, and Duela, who were caught breaking into the offices of Wayne Enterprises. Later, even Turner is detained on the basis of the suspicion that he murdered Bruce over a property dispute (yeah, if that makes sense). The four of them are helped by the still-active Robin, Carrie Kelley, in their effort to escape imprisonment, and this group of ragtag friends decides to stick together in order to clear their names and bring the actual culprit to justice. In the absence of Batman, Gotham will depend on these fledgling vigilantes for its protection, a kind of similar premise that follows the game “Gotham Knights,” where Bruce gets murdered by Ra’s Al Ghul and the responsibility of Gotham’s protection rests on the Bat-family, consisting of Tim Drake, Barbara Gordon, Jason Todd, and Dick Grayson. A number of Batman villains, like Lincoln March (Talon) and Cluemaster, will play major roles in “Gotham Knights” as their children are part of the vigilante team.
The Characters Of Gotham Knights
Let’s take a look at the key characters who will appear in the series and explore their comics counterparts briefly. Although the upper echelon of the Bat Family, which consists of heavyweight characters like Dick, Babs, Tim, Jason, and Damian, won’t be appearing in the series, some familiar faces will make appearances, nonetheless.
Turner Hayes: The vigilante group in “Gotham Knights” will be led by Turner Hayes, played by Oscar Morgan, who is a series-exclusive character and thus far has not appeared in comics. In “Gotham Knights,” Turner is the adopted son of Bruce Wayne, who is unaware of his father’s secret identity and only comes to know about it on the night of Bruce’s death. The closest comparison with Turner can be made with Richard ‘Dick’ Grayson, the first Robin and adopted son of Bruce Wayne in comics, although the former doesn’t seem as bright as Dick, given he couldn’t figure out Bruce’s alias on his own. As the plot synopsis suggests, in the series, he gets implicated as one of the suspects in Bruce’s murder, and in an effort to clear his name and bring his father’s killer(s) to justice, he joins with other teenage vigilantes operating in Gotham.
Harvey Dent: The classic Batman villain Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face, will be portrayed by Misha Collins in the series. From the looks of it, Harvey will begin as the idealistic DA on his mission to investigate the murder mystery, and later circumstances will propel him to lead the hunt against the Turner-led vigilantes, or as he calls them, fugitives on the run. “Gotham Knights” details and leaks have also suggested that through the course of the series, Harvey’s villainous Two-Face persona will make an appearance as an antagonist.
Stephanie Brown: Stephanie Brown, played by Anna Lore, is Turner’s close friend and classmate in the series, and she will most possibly act as the brains of the vigilante unit. In comics, Stephanie is known as the only character who has donned both the Robin and Batgirl moniker during various periods and made her first appearance under the guise of Spoiler. Her arc in comics was closely associated with foiling her criminal father’s (Cluemaster, aka Arthur Brown) plans, and as “Gotham Knights” character list confirms Cluemaster’s appearance, we can expect a similar storyline to take place here also.
Carrie Kelley: Fans of Frank Miller’s masterpiece “The Dark Knight Returns” are probably going to recognize the name Carrie Kelley instantly, as she was the Robin (the first female Robin too) to the older, gruff Bruce Wayne in the iconic comic series. Carrie served as Robin throughout Frank Miller’s Dark Knight trilogy and later made a minor appearance in prime DC universe continuity in both the New 52 and Rebirth timelines. In the comics, Carrie was rescued from a gang of sadistic mutant groups by an out-of-retirement Batman, and getting inspired by that incident; she decided to don the moniker of Robin on her own. Carrie later assisted Bruce on his road to recovery, both physically and mentally, and we got to see Batman and Robin once again patrolling the dark corner of Gotham ever vigilantly. In the CW series, Carrie, played by Navia Robinson, has been acting as Robin for quite some time, and the demise of Bruce has scarred her emotionally. As seen in the trailer, she rescues the rest of the amateur vigilantes from police custody and probably will be the mentor figure, being the most experienced of the lot.
Harper Row And Cullen Row: The sibling duo Harper Row and Cullen Row, portrayed by Fallon Smythe and Tyler Dichiara, will start as small-time crooks in “Gotham Knights” who get framed for Bruce Wayne’s murder wrongly as they get caught while breaking into the offices of Wayne Enterprises. In the comics, Harper Row, a brilliant techie, and her brother Cullen are two of numerous hapless, impoverished Gothamites. After Batman rescues both the kids from bullies who were torturing Cullen for his sexual orientation, Harper gets inspired to join Batman’s cause of justice. Despite Bruce’s initial reservations about putting those hapless kids’ lives at risk by enlisting them, a number of instances help him to gain a newfound respect for Harper, and he allows her to operate under the moniker Bluebird.
Duela: Played by the brilliant actor Olivia Rose Keegan, Duela is yet another unfortunate victim caught up in the murder mystery as a suspect. In comics, Duela Dent calls herself the Joker’s daughter, and her dissociative personality disorder causes her to flicker between claiming to be the daughter of Two-Face, Scarecrow, Riddler, and Penguin, although her true parentage belongs to minor villains Evelyn Dent and Jokester. Born in Arkham Asylum, Duela grew up with a fractured psyche, and her unhinged nature oscillates her allegiance with the people she is involved with. We saw a version of Duela in the CW “Batwoman” series, who started as a mass murdering psychopathic supervillain and later acted as an unlikely ally. It will be interesting to see her add a new, unreliable dynamic to the novice group of crimefighters.
Among Batman-related TV series that weaved their narratives in the character’s absence, Fox’s “Gotham” was the best example of utilizing the rich lore of the Caped Crusader. Hopefully, “Gotham Knights” will take note of that; otherwise, there is a real chance of the series being an edgy teen drama that maligns the legacy of the Batfamily, much like how “Titans” wasted its opportunity to show faithful adherence to the source material.