At The CW’s Upfront 2022 Red Carpet, I had the opportunity to chat with Misha Collins, Oscar Morgan, Fallon Smythe, Tyler DiChiara, Anna Lore, Rahart Adams, Navia Robinson, and Olivia Rose Keegan about Gotham Knights. The new series, which is based on characters created for DC by Bob Kane with Bill Finger, will be part of The CW’s 2023 schedule.
Batman is dead, and a powder keg has ignited Gotham City without the Dark Knight to protect it. In the wake of Bruce Wayne’s murder, his adopted son Turner Hayes (Oscar Morgan) is framed for killing the Caped Crusader, along with the children of some of Batman’s enemies: Duela (Olivia Rose Keegan), an unpredictable fighter and skilled thief who was born in Arkham Asylum and abandoned by her father, Harper Row (Fallon Smythe), a streetwise and acerbic engineer who can fix anything, and her brother Cullen Row (Tyler DiChiara), a clever transgender teen who is tired of being polite and agreeable. With the charismatic and hard-charging District Attorney Harvey Dent (Misha Collins) and the GCPD hot on their trail, Turner will rely on allies including his best friend and formidable coder Stephanie Brown (Anna Lore), and unlikely Batman sidekick Carrie Kelley (Navia Robinson). But our Knights will soon learn there is a larger, more nefarious force at work within Gotham City. This team of mismatched fugitives must band together to become its next generation of saviors known as the GOTHAM KNIGHTS.
We discussed their individual roles, joining the DC Universe, being a fan of the comics, what they think will excite fans most about the new series, and more. Keep reading for all the details!
First of all, huge congratulations to all of you on the new series! What made these roles unique and stand out to you?
Misha Collins: Well, what’s unique to me is — I’m playing Harvey Dent, which is an iconic character in the Batman universe, but what’s really unique about that is when I told my kids about it, they were like, “Oh, that’s awesome, Dad!” I was like, “Well, but kids, you know, I’m gonna have to be filming far away from you.” And they’re like, “We don’t care, Dad. That’s great!” So what’s different for me is that this is the first time I’ve done something that my kids are actually excited about.
Fallon Smythe: Oh my God, I mean, so many things. By just reading through the pilot the first time, every time I would flip the page, I was on the edge of my seat and it’s just such a huge honor because there are so many characters in this who have never been portrayed on screen before. So that was something that really stuck out to me and it’s just an honor to be able to take that on for the first time.
Tyler DiChiara: Yeah, exactly what she said. It’s an honor to be a part of this and it’s just… the DC [universe] is huge. So to be a part of it, it’s like, I’m dreaming every day and this script, like she said, page-turner, page-turner, I’m on the edge of my seat. I’m like, “what’s gonna happen next,” now that we ended it. I know, I’m in it, but I’m like, “What else is gonna happen? I want to know more!” So it’s an honor, to say the least. And again, having this amazing cast by my side, it makes my nerves go down a little bit.
Anna Lore: Well, the pilot, just reading it, is like a page-turner. It moves really quickly. I am a huge mystery nerd like, I’m a Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes, the works and it is a bit of a murder mystery, so that was really exciting to me. Then as I did my research on who Stephanie Brown and who Spoiler is, I was like, “she’s amazing.” Like, I wish that I had known about her when I was growing up, she’s such a great — especially in the later series, she’s just cool, she’s smart, she’s independent. There’s so many things to love about her. I’m really excited to play her.
Rahart Adams: Totally agree, the script was a definite page-turner when I read it for the first time, even when we were doing the cast read-through, the table read, we just all clicked together and you get that feeling of like, “this is gonna be great” sort of situation. I still feel the same way and everybody does too. I’m very excited for everyone to see it.
Lore: Yeah, the cast — fans are gonna love the cast. I’m so excited for you to see everyone’s work because it’s gonna be really phenomenal.
What do you think is going to excite fans and what are you most excited to share with them?
Collins: I don’t know what fans are gonna like about it, but I’ll tell you what I like about it so far: I think that there have been times when we collectively have explored superhero universes on television and it’s been a little bit campy or a little sticky, and this feels really grounded, really gritty, and really real and kind of emotionally connected in a way that I haven’t seen on other superhero shows. So I’m excited about playing in that sandbox in that way.
Oscar Morgan: Well, I mean, there’s a lot of youth in this. It’s brilliant because it feels like a next-generation type of thing. It’s a drama, kids love drama, cool costumes — I don’t know, I feel like it’s gonna excite people. It excites me.
Smythe: I think a lot of easter eggs and a lot of homages to Batman, and also, I think seeing these characters come to life for the first time. There’s so many fans of each of these new characters that haven’t been on screen and so I think seeing the origin stories is gonna be really exciting. It’s exciting for me.
DiChiara: Yeah, I mean, seeing a character in a comic book go to the screen, it’s an honor to bring a character from paper into life. So again, I’m just honored to be playing Cullen and to give him a voice, give him a face, and see where his story takes us because I have yet to see where it goes.
Lore: Oh my gosh, I mean, I’m excited to live tweet it and live watch it because I want to experience it the same time everyone is experiencing it for the first time. That’s gonna be so exciting. But other than that, just to repeat myself, the cast; the cast is so good and they’re so warm, loving, and already a huge family. It’s gonna be so good.
Adams: I’m excited to explore a new character. I’m excited to explore an original character in the DC universe and I’m excited to show the fans who Brody is as well. I think they’re gonna be excited with all of the twists and turns that Brody’s character arc has and I think they’re going to be surprised.
What has it been like seeing the fan reaction to the show when it hasn’t even come out yet?
Olivia Rose Keegan: It’s wonderfully overwhelming in the best way possible. Like, the DC Universe being already in there and having people that are so educated about all of it, so passionate, it’s the dream, that’s what you want. It’s so fun to meet everyone, I’m new to this world and I’m just loving all of it.
Navia Robinson: Yeah, I mean, so much of acting and being an actor is a very insular process, right? You’re auditioning by yourself or with one other person, so it could be isolating. So It’s very nice to feel the community of this world because otherwise, it can be secluded. It’s great, you forget how perceived you are, so as Olivia said, it is overwhelming, but it’s also very exciting. I mean, I’m just grateful for all the people who are excited for it, because there are some cynical people out there too and what I have to say is just watch first, okay? Be patient.
Were you DC fans before joining the series? What was it like diving into this universe? It’s so iconic.
Smythe: Yeah, I mean, my brother is such a huge DC nerd, so I would always steal his comics, read them, and he’d always teach me. So I’ve always been a huge fan. I’m not a comic expert, but definitely a fan.
DiChiara: Definitely not a comic expert, but I am a video game expert. I was a huge DC video game guy and movies too, so watching all those growing up and playing the video games, even with the new Gotham Knights video game that’s coming out, has nothing to do with the show whatsoever, but it’s just very, very — I like the timing of everything. Again, the comics are just so iconic, so to dive into this universe, where there’s a dead Batman, I was very shocked. I was like, “there’s a dead Batman?!” That doesn’t add, no. But yeah, it’s crazy, to say the least.
Lore: I know. I mean, we’ve been saying this a lot and so it feels cheesy to say, but it’s a dream come true. It’s what everyone wants. Everyone wants to play a superhero, it’s so exciting to have joined in on it.
Adams: We all grew up, as an actor, wanting to be a superhero. I definitely did, I grew up wanting to be in the DC universe specifically. So this is a real dream come true, genuinely a dream come true. It feels good to be able to like brag about it to my little brother as well.
Robinson: Yeah, I was a fan of DC, it’s such a big — it has so much cultural significance and it certainly did within my family. I think part of why we gravitated towards comics, me and my four brothers, is because it’s one of the more inclusive art forms. So we’re seeing really powerful and complex women before they were really being portrayed in TV and film, so I love it. I was just talking to another person about Young Justice and I was the perfect age for Young Justice, so it’s very exciting that to me, this work kind of reflects the youth of Gotham or of the DC Universe.
Keegan: I’m a little bit more new to it, to be honest. I am having the greatest time getting acquainted with all of it though. It’s all fascinating to me, the whole entire universe.
Robinson: I mean, despite that though, watching her perform as Duela was really otherworldly. Like, you get it, you get it and it’s probably the outside perspective that makes you so powerful in the role because I believe in you. It’s so exciting, I can’t wait for people to see her, she’s so sick.
Keegan: I cannot wait to see Carrie Kelley, aka Batman’s sidekick. She’s so real, so real and there’s so much depth and you can tell in like every single line.
I love that you mentioned strong female characters. That is something I search for in every single show I watch and unfortunately, I don’t always see them. So talk to me about what it means to present these new characters to the screen?
Robinson: I mean, you’re right, you rarely ever see strong female characters, and more than anything else, you rarely see female characters that have their own autonomy and who are who they are, of their own volition. So with Carrie, it’s so exciting because she’s idealistic, but she’s not naive and so she feels like she contains multitudes and that she’s a real person, and that she’s not framed through the male gaze. Then for the role of Duela, it’s so exciting seeing this like kind of wicked, imperfect female character, who is accepted for her imperfections. It’s really cool. Imperfections, to say the least, she’s pretty crazy.
Keegan: Yeah, accepted and not accepted by so many people, and placing her worth in the wrong — she’s a messy girl and I think it honestly shows that. She’s a messy human growing up with a complicated past, and there’s just endless possibilities and endless layers you see in all of these characters that have never really been explored before or at least in this way. It’s so cool.
Robinson: And we need that as well. We need messy characters too. Empowering and messy ones because they usually intersect.
Keegan: It’s everything. It’s messy, you can know exactly who you are one day and then be completely messy the next. It’s really hard to like, define yourself in two sentences and put yourself in a box because people aren’t like that and if you can put yourself in a box, you’re probably boring. Well, I mean, I don’t know, but yeah, we’re changing, constantly evolving.
Lastly, if you could have any superpower in the world, which would you pick and why?
Lore: Okay, I’ve thought about this a lot. I have and it has to do with travel, either flying because I think actually flying would be so fun or teleporting so that I can just like pop here, pop there, see the whole — because I just… I don’t know, I spend a lot of time thinking about how much of the world I’m not gonna see because it’s so big.
Adams: I would be able to… if I could pick a superpower to be able to control the elements, like Avatar: The Last Airbender.