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Gotham Knights Rectifies Arrowverse’s Stephanie Brown Mistake

Warning: The following contains SPOILERS for the Gotham Knights series premiere.Stephanie Brown is major part of the Gotham Knights show’s main cast, fixing a major Arrowverse mistake. The popular comics heroine was introduced in one episode of Batwoman, but disappeared after a single appearance. By contrast, Gotham Knights establishes Stephanie Brown as a key figure in the titular team, and presents a version of the character that is truer to her portrayal in the Batman stories published by DC Comics than her Arrowverse incarnation.


Many DC Comics characters are in Gotham Knights, but Anna Lore’s Stephanie Brown has not been featured prominently in any of the show’s advertising. This is curious, because Stephanie Brown has a considerable following among comic readers and is historically notable as the only character to carry the mantles of both Robin and Batgirl in the mainstream DC Comics continuity. While it is unclear after the Gotham Knights series premiere if she will eventually don a costume, a new audience stands poised to discover just why Stephanie Brown is so beloved by Bat-fans.

Related: Gotham Knight’s Riskiest Batman Plot Actually Copies The Dark Knight Rises

Who Is Stephanie Brown In The DC Comics?

Stephanie Brown Spoiler Robin Batgirl

Created by writer Chuck Dixon and artist Tom Lyle, Stephanie Brown first appeared in Detective Comics #647 in August 1992. The estranged daughter of the Riddler rip-off villain Cluemaster, the teenage Stephanie was horrified to discover her father had returned to crime after being cured of his compulsion to tip the police off ahead of his heists. Assembling a purple-cloaked costume, Stephanie became The Spoiler, and began leaving clues warning Batman and Robin of what her father was planning.

Despite Batman’s disapproval of vigilantes in Gotham City who operated without his supervision, Stephanie entered into a partnership with the Tim Drake Robin that blossomed into romance. Eventually, Batman accepted Stephanie into the fold, although he accidentally drove a wedge between himself and Robin by revealing Tim Drake’s secret identity to Stephanie without checking first. Stephanie honed her skills under Batman’s tutelage, getting special training from the Birds of Prey and Black Canary. Stephanie also befriended the second Batgirl, Cassandra Cain, who taught her martial arts in exchange for reading lessons.

When Tim Drake’s father learned of his double life as Robin and forced him to retire, Stephanie presented herself to Batman as a replacement. He took her up on the offer, but quickly fired her, due to her rebellious nature leading her to go against his orders in the field. In a misguided effort to prove her worth, Stephanie retaliated by stealing one of Batman’s contingency plans for neutralizing Gotham City’s gangs and tried to put it into action, seemingly dying in the process during the Batman: War Games storyline.

When Stephanie’s fans protested at how badly she’d been treated, her death was retconned. A later story revealed that Stephanie had faked her death with the help of Batman’s ally Dr. Leslie Thompkins. When Stephanie returned to Gotham City, the former Batgirl turned Oracle, Barbara Gordon, sought her out and tried to convince her to give up vigilantism. Her tune changed, however, after Stephanie brought down Scarecrow by herself. With Cassandra Cain having quit being a hero, Stephanie Brown became the third Batgirl with Barbara Gordon’s blessing. In the current DC Comics reality, Stephanie shares the Batgirl name with Barbara and Cassandra, while still wearing her Spoiler costume.

Related: Gotham Knights Show Is Already Repeating An Arrowverse Batman Mistake

Stephanie Brown’s Short-lived Role In The Arrowverse Explained

Batwoman Luke Fox Batwing Stephanie Brown Spoiler

Stephanie Brown was introduced into the Arrowverse in the Batwoman season 2 episode “I’ll Give You a Clue,” albeit in a highly adapted form. Played by actress Morgan Kohan (Lillian Walsh in When Hope Calls), this version of Stephanie Brown was a genius who skipped several grades and graduated early from MIT. She helped bring her criminal father to justice by tipping off the authorities, like in the comics, and helped Batwoman solve her father’s puzzles when Cluemaster returned. She was also seemingly set up as a potential love interest for Batwing Luke Fox, kissing him at the end of the episode after he saved her life.

With red hair, a genius intellect and multiple degrees, it’s been argued this version of Stephanie Brown had more in common with Barbara Gordon than the Stephanie Brown of the comics. Despite this, Arrowverse viewers found the character engaging, and hoped to see her return. Unfortunately, she never did, presumably because Morgan Kohan was unavailable for filming, and the Batwoman writers were simultaneously developing a flirtation between Luke Fox and Mary Hamilton.

While Stephanie Brown never appeared on Batwoman again, she did make an appearance in the Arrowverse tie-in comic Earth-Prime. The story “A Night Out,” which was written by Luke Fox actor Camrus Johnson, confirmed that Luke did try dating the Arrowverse Stephanie Brown after her initial appearance. Sadly, Luke kept having to ditch her for superhero business, and Stephanie ended their romance after their third attempted date was cut short. The comic gave closure to the story of the Arrowverse Stephanie Brown, but it was far from satisfying.

Why Gotham Knights’ Version Of Stephanie Brown is The Best Yet

Stephanie Brown and Brody March, in Gotham Knights show pilot

The Stephanie Brown presented in the Gotham Knights series premiere is much truer to the character from the comics. This Stephanie is introduced as the best friend of Bruce Wayne’s adopted son, Turner Hayes, and a fellow student at the prestigious Gotham Academy. While the Stephanie Brown of the comics attended public school and came from a working-class background, the Gotham Knights version has the same rebellious spirit and quick wit.

Related: 5 Crucial Lessons DC Universe’s Supergirl Must Learn From The Arrowverse

These qualities are prominently displayed early on in the Gotham Knights series premiere, when Turner Hayes throws a party at the stately Wayne Manor to celebrate his advancing to the State Finals in fencing. After being informed of an “amorous couple making use of the billiards room,” Turner is quick to stop his classmates’ intimate encounter. When Turner protests his classmates hooking up on an expensive 17th century couch, Stephanie reveals herself and corrects Turner, pointing out that the furniture in question is technically a canopy, rather than a couch. To add further insult to the offense, Stephanie’s make-out partner is Turner’s rival on the fencing team, Brody March.

Stephanie’s brilliance and outlaw nature are confirmed again later in the Gotham Knights series premiere, when Turner asks Stephanie for help in tracking down his father’s murderers. Stephanie is revealed as an amateur hacker, though she admits she’s never done anything as ambitious as breaking into the Gotham National Bank records, “though I’ve always wanted to try.” Armed with the Bat Computer in the Batcave, however, Stephanie’s skills prove up to the task.

With a brilliant mind and iconoclastic personality, the Stephanie Brown of Gotham Knights is more engaging than her Arrowverse counterpart and far closer to the source material. Despite this, it is unclear if Stephanie will adopt one of her superhero identities from the comics or a costume. However, with Ethan Embry confirmed to have been cast in the role of Cluemaster for Gotham Knights, it may not be a spoiler to say that Stephanie Brown will continue to play an active role in the series.

More: Every Actor Who’s Played Batman In Live-Action

Gotham Knights season 1 continues on Tuesdays on The CW.

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