‘Gotham Knights’: Who Is Turner Hayes in Batman-Based Series?

The trailer for the upcoming CW series Gotham Knights was released yesterday, and it unveiled a bunch of characters, including an adoptive son of Batman/Bruce Wayne, who is … not Dick. Or Tim. Or Jason.

In the summary for the series on Youtube:

In the wake of Bruce Wayne’s murder, his rebellious adopted son forges an unlikely alliance with the children of Batman’s enemies when they are all framed for killing the Caped Crusader. And as the city’s most wanted criminals, this renegade band of misfits must fight to clear their names. But in a Gotham with no Dark Knight to protect it, the city descends into the most dangerous it’s ever been. However, hope comes from the most unexpected of places as this team of mismatched fugitives will become its next generation of saviors known as the Gotham Knights.

(via HBO)

Who are these scrappy young people?

We have Olivia Rose Keegan as Duela Dent, a.k.a. the Joker’s Daughter, a character who, in the comics, has claimed several big-name Batman rogues as her parents. Then, there’s Fallon Smythe as Harper Row and Tyler DiChiara as Cullen Row, two characters who have played supporting Bat Family roles in the comics. There’s Navia Robinson as Carrie Kelley, the first female Robin from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. The cast list also has Anna Lore as Stephanie Brown. Brown is the daughter of the criminal Cluemaster, and went on to be both Robin and Batgirl at different points.

The son of the Bat himself is Turner Hayes. Now, I am not an expert on all things Bat Family. I don’t know every single character who has ever collaborated with Bruce Wayne, so I looked up Turner Hayes. He’s an original character developed for this series.

(Deep sigh)

Look, I’m not a purist. Batman can be messed with, and I’m down with that. However, we are talking about a character that has four adoptive sons (Dick, Jason, Tim, and Duke), one biological son (Damien), and a bunch of other kids he mentors and dads. Why are they inventing some generic white guy? It even says in the write-up for The Hollywood Reporter that Turner was “adopted following the murder of Turner’s biological parents” by Bruce Wayne.

So … basically Dick, but with a violently caucasian name? I just don’t get it. At least with Birds of Prey the show, Helena Wayne actually exists in some kind of AU canon within the comics.

With the latest corporate changes affecting The CW, I am reminded of the UPN/WB merger. For all its faults, The CW perfected surface-level diversity and managed to provide some layer of representation. I look at Gotham Knights and it just looks very much like more of the same, except they decided that instead of the well-established queer, Brown, or canonical Batman characters from the comics, they made up some random white dude to be the lead.

Yes, I see that they included Carrie Kelley, but that is not the same as inventing a new white character when we have plenty of characters who could be the lead. I mean, this kind of murder mystery is built for Tim Drake or Damien Wayne! Sigh. I invite everyone to join me in enjoying Webtoon’s Batman: Wayne Family Adventures.

(featured image: The CW)

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