This article contains major Batwoman spoilers.
Just like in the comics, the CW’s Batwoman started in the long shadow of Batman’s absence. Gotham didn’t know why their hero had forsaken them, and Kate missed her favorite cousin dearly. But through a complicated series of events, Batwoman and her team rose to fill the void and give Gotham hope again.
For some fans, the question has always been “But where is Bruce Wayne?” Some have been hoping for a glimpse of one of DC’s most famous and beloved heroes in live action on the small screen since Oliver Queen first started shooting tennis balls in a basement. During its season 1 finale, Batwoman made good and gave us a couple of glimpses of Bruce Wayne, albeit in a nontraditional way.
Is Bruce Wayne really on Batwoman?
Just to be clear, no. Well, not yet? We can’t say whether Bruce Wayne will be on the show in the future (more on that below), but for now, the guy Warren Christie is playing in the season 1 finale and Batwoman season 2 (when it arrives in 2021) is villain Hush, AKA Tommy Elliot (Gabriel Mann) with a face identical to Bruce Wayne’s surgically added to his. Here’s hoping they’re the same height and he knows a good wig place!
As we’ve seen all season, big bad Alice has creepy skills to do face transplants for just about anyone, just about anywhere. Earlier in the episode, she got “supplies” (human skin!) at the morgue. She even snipped some of her surrogate brother Mouse’s hair to grow eyebrows for Hush’s face, because apparently that’s part of it. While she kept telling Mouse she was going to kill off Hush, by the end of the episode she had killed off Mouse and essentially replaced him with Hush as her new partner in crime.
So how long had she been planning Mouse’s death?
For Alice, giving the face of her cousin to someone she constantly threatens to kill is a strategic move. Batwoman showrunner Caroline Dries says, “the narrative was perfect that the second Alice realized what she wanted was inside Wayne Enterprises, and she can’t exactly waltz in there, but she knows somebody who can, it just all clicked for her, like, Yes, we have to do that.”
Just to be extra-super-duper-double-sure, Alice also showed a magazine cover featuring the clean-cut mogul. Hush’s new face is definitely the Bruce Wayne that the world has been looking for, and in a post-Crisis world, that makes him the Bruce Wayne for all of Earth Prime.
Who Plays Bruce Wayne on Batwoman?
Actor Warren Christie makes the brief but impactful appearance during the Batwoman season finale as the face of Bruce Wayne, on Hush’s body. Dries says it was fun to get to visualize who Bruce Wayne would be in the world of Batwoman. When she saw Warren Christie’s name on a list from the casting department, she thought he was perfect.
You might know Christie from Apollo 18 or Alphas, but he has also made an appearance in the Arrowverse before in a 2012 episode of Arrow, as wealthy neurosurgeon Carter Bowen who went to high school with Oliver, Laurel, and Tommy. In that episode, he donated to CNRI where Laurel worked and showed a romantic interest in Laurel, though she thought he was too much of an ass. Batman seems like an upgrade, no?
Has Batman been in the Arrowverse before?
This isn’t Bruce Wayne’s first appearance in the Arrowverse, however. During Crisis on Infinite Earths, Kate Kane and Kara Danvers went to Earth-99 to find one of the paragons and met #SwoleLuke and an older, jaded, severely injured Bruce Wayne (played by legendary Batman: The Animated Series voice Kevin Conroy). That Bruce had lost his way as a hero after killing first the Joker and then a number of other villains (and possibly Superman, likely using the Kryptonite that Clark had once entrusted to him). His body was broken from years of abuse, and required a hi-tech exoskeleton to remain mobile.
This was a possible future for Bruce Wayne, and something of a cautionary tale for what happens when a hero loses all perspective. Considering that the Luke of our world recently confessed to Kate that the “real” Bruce had dispatched the Joker in a permanent fashion, there could be some concern that the Batman of Earth Prime has already started to lose his way. Whenever Kate gets around to seeing her cousin for real again, this encounter is likely to weigh pretty heavily on her mind. That’s assuming he’s still alive in the first place, of course…
Is Bruce Wayne Dead?
We still don’t know anymore about Bruce Wayne’s ultimate fate than we did before the season finale, unfortunately. While Alice, Mouse, and Cartwright had at times stolen faces from dead people, they’ve also taken “raw materials” as it were to create copied faces of living people, like when Mouse impersonated Jacob Kane. All that is to say, Bruce Wayne could very well be kicking it in Corto Maltese or maybe taking out the Joker was a suicide mission. At this point, he’s Schrodinger’s Dark Knight.
If Bruce suddenly shows up, will Kate, Jacob, and Mary know it’s a fake? As Jacob they got away with it for a little while, although they had a few advantages with that. For one, many of those closest to Jacob were sidelined. For another, while Jacob is relatively well known as the head of the Crows, he’s nowhere near as famous as his nephew Bruce. Finally, Mouse could mimic people’s voices, and as far as we know, Tommy cannot. Showrunner Caroline Dries joked that Tommy could learn before the show returns in January of 2021. Perhaps he could steal some tech, or only interact with people who don’t know him well.
Will Batman be on Batwoman?
But if he’s alive, would the real Bruce Wayne come back to stop a fake in his tracks? It’s entirely possible, although based on what Batwoman showrunner told Den of Geek about how the show got permission to use the character, it doesn’t sound altogether likely.
“Our goal was getting that up the ladder at DC who’s (rightfully so) very protective of Bruce Wayne and Batman,” Dries says. “We agreed that if we told the story the way we ended up telling it, which is, we’re in on it. We know that it’s a ruse, and now we just sit and wait and watch our characters react and figure it out, that they would be okay with that.”
The bit about it being a ruse that the audience is in on sounds like the lynchpin for the folks at DC. That being said, once upon a time there was no hope for seeing Clark Kent/Superman on Supergirl, and now he’s coming shown up in crossovers and a Superman and Lois TV series will arrive in 2021! So stranger things have happened.
Another wrinkle to consider is that, thanks to Lucius Fox’s journal, Alice and Hush know that Bruce Wayne is Batman. Will those bozos try to pull off being Batman? Obviously not for the heroism of it, but Hush might be interested in the grandiosity and the adoration. Both of them would likely see dollar signs and a possible route to power. With Safiyah incoming, Alice might be seeking protection. Another angle they might try is blackmailing those closest to Bruce – like Luke and Kate – into keeping quiet or letting them get what they want, in exchange for keeping how Bruce used to spend his nights a secret.
Fans have long speculated that someone must know where Bruce Wayne really is, with the obvious person being Luke Fox. Might he – or whoever might know the location of the true Bruce – attempt to contact Bruce to verify the man bopping around town or to quiet their doubts, inadvertently tripping some communications signal that can be tapped or traced?
How will Gotham react to the return of “Bruce Wayne”? Dries says the city will be a “game changer” that “rattles the city.” Batwoman Season 2 can’t come fast enough!