Gotham Knights is getting much closer, with the season premiere airing this Tuesday, March 14 on The CW, right after the season premiere of Superman & Lois. To prepare for the big premiere, we were able to do a lengthy Q&A with Co-Creator and Co-Executive Producer Natalie Abrams – someone who herself had an origin story in asking questions about superhero shows. (If anyone could extract a spoiler from a producer during a group Q&A, it was Natalie).
Part 2 will run on this website on Monday – so follow @Gothamsite on Twitter for updates on when that comes in – but for now, here’s Part 1 of our interview, all for your reading pleasure. Don’t miss Gotham Knights Tuesday, March 14 on The CW!
GOTHAMSITE’S CRAIG BYRNE: I know you started this on the other side, doing the journalism thing, and loving and enjoying these shows just like the rest of us, and then you wrote for Supergirl and Batwoman. Were there any specific formative comic book shows or movies that may have inspired your take on Gotham City?
NATALIE ABRAMS: Wow. Yeah. It’s funny… I’m just about to finish the WGA showrunner training program, and back on the first day of the program, the guy sitting next to me, I [asked],” hey, like, where do you get your start?” And he was like, “oh, in film.” I ask “what films?” and he’s like, “I wrote X-Men.” I literally just burst into tears, realizing David Hayter is my classmate and is sitting next to me
I told him “you kind of made me want to be a writer, because seeing X-Men back when I was in high school was the first time I sort of saw myself on screen, feeling like the other.” I would say that was the first thing that I really fell in love with.
And then, of course, shows like Arrow and The Flash and Supergirl. And Smallville… that’s where we we first met! Those shows… I always loved them, because they dealt with real world issues, but wrapped up in tights and flights and a superhero lens, which somehow made it easier to digest and was yet still relatable. It just always felt more fun telling those real world stories through this sort of heightened genre.
How did the concept for Gotham Knights start coming about?
I lost my Dad after a 15-year battle with cancer back in October 2020. I was writing on Batwoman, and I think the week after my dad’s own funeral, I’m describing how to do a Jewish funeral for Kate Kane on Batwoman Season 2. It was hard to process grief in that time. I think because in the pandemic, it’s harder to recognize the absence of something when you’re not like seeing a ton of people all the time, and so, I was looking for any sort of distraction.
I have found so many distractions in the pages of comics, and I have been thinking about a lot of characters. Initially, I was thinking about Stephanie Brown, who’s got a really relatable story from the comics, and then I was thinking thinking about “how could I do that story as an ensemble?” I remember writing a post-it note that said “Gotham Knights” because she’s part of the Gotham Knights in the comics, and sticking it up on my computer.
I would stare at it every day, when we were on Zoom during the pandemic, trying to crack it, but for the longest time, I was avoiding the obvious route in my grief. Then, once I faced it, and it was like, “oh, this is the story about the loss of a father, and a story about legacy.” How do you balance after losing that parental figure? For Turner, do you follow in your parent’s footsteps, or do you forge your own path? Sp, that kind of became the story of Gotham Knights as a whole. It’s all about legacy, and this next generation being like “Do I make the same mistakes as the generations that come before us, or do I break free and try to do things differently?”
Was there ever a scenario where the show was tied to Batwoman?
No. It always felt like it was as its own separate world, to just try a new kind of Gotham. I loved working on Batwoman. It was an incredible experience. It brought so many wonderful people into my life, including Chad [Fiveash] and James [Stotereaux], who I would co-create Gotham Knights with. I think we wanted to do something just a little bit different from what we had seen on the CW before. The Arrowvers is so rich, but it had been explored for many, many years, so it was kind of time to be like “what can we do that’s different, and start a new chapter?”
How much did you geek out when you guys got Misha Collins to play Harvey Dent, and what does he bring to the character?
Oh, my goodness. I had no idea just how dedicated and devoted the Supernatural fandom is. As a reporter, yes, I would go up to Vancouver and go on set and whatnot, but really, Supernatural was Samantha Highfill’s beat at EW. I would just go and ask her questions for her.
So then, once we cast Misha, just to see the fan reaction, I was kind of blown away. It made me like Twitter again, because everyone was really nice. But yeah, that first chat with Misha on Zoom, you could just see how much he really cares, and how passionate he is about everything he does. Not just acting, or being a father, or being a friend; but also just being an advocate, being an ally, and being someone who tries to help other people. That speaks so much to what Harvey Dent is, setting aside who we all know Harvey Dent will become in the comics, because his is we hope to be a definitive origin story for for Harvey Dent in his de-evolution into becoming this iconic DC Comics villain. I think there’s just no one better to play it, because he’s got that heart. And yet, the first time I saw the duality that Misha was going to bring to this role, I had chills.
Do any of the other Robins exist in this world, and if yes, will we find out why they didn’t come back to town for Bruce Wayne’s funeral?
As of right now, that’s a TBD. Right now, what we’re saying is Carrie Kelley is Batman’s Robin, and whether there are others out there remains to be seen for the future. I never want to say never, but I also just want to leave some stuff in our back pocket.
The Knights do a lot of things, even in the daytime. Might they ever need to suit up in costumes or at the very least masks?
You will start to see that very problem arise. Initially, we will see they are very scrappy. They only have what they have on them, and the resources they have on them. They don’t have all this incredible Bat-tech at first. They don’t have costumes. So, they have to sort of figure their way out through it. But I will say as the season goes on, much like any sort of situation, you’re going to start to amass resources, and you’re going to start to realize, “oh, hey, maybe I can’t go out in public without covering my face.” And so, we’ll go on this journey with them this season. As they put themselves in more danger, they’re going to need more resources to help them out.
Hhw old is this world’s Bruce Wayne?
We haven’t said had an exact age, but when we were in discussions about how old he was, we landed on that he’s a Batman who’s been around for longer than what we’re maybe used to seeing in some of the films.
And that’s it for Part 1! Stay tuned on Monday for Part 2 of this interview, as we discuss more of the new characters, the Bat-family members, as well as the foes that will be seen in Season 1 of Gotham Knights!