Batwoman is officially in the middle of a new era, as its second season has been introducing a wide array of new and exciting elements. In between juggling the departure of Ruby Rose's Kate Kane and the introduction of Javicia Leslie's Ryan Wilder, the series has been carrying over a lot of plotlines that had begun to be teed up in Season 1. One of the most intriguing threads from the show's first season was definitely the debut of Safiyah Sohail (Shivani Ghai), who has been confirmed to be appearing in this week's episode, "Bat Girl Magic!" Safiyah is undeniably one of the most intriguing characters within the established Batwoman mythos -- and here's what you need to know about her.
Created by Marguerite Bennett, James Tynion IV, and Steve Epting, Safiyah made her first appearance in 2017's Batwoman: Rebirth #1. The leader of the pirate nation of Coryana, Safiyah crosses paths with Kate Kane after she washed up on shore in the middle of her trip around the world prior to becoming Batwoman. After saving Kate from almost dying, Safiyah begins to develop a fondness for her, to the chagrin of the majority of the population of Coryana, as well as her lead assassin and ex-lover, Tahani/The Knife.
Through a sequence of events, it is revealed that Kate was carrying a deadly bacteria onto Coryana, through the injuries she had sustained while washing up onto the island. Safiyah blames the bacteria's spread on one of Coryana's warlords and has him executed, something that drives a wedge between her and Kate's relationship.
Years later, as Batwoman, Kate found her way back to Coryana, and discovered that Safiyah was involved with a terrorist organization called the Many Arms of Death. This fact gets complicated even further when she learns that The Knife has kidnapped Beth Kane, with the goal of using drugs to reactivate her evil Red Alice persona and using it against both Safiyah and Kate.
Safiyah's arrival on Batwoman has been teased almost from the get-go, with Season 1 dropping multiple hints to the Many Arms of Death, culminating in confirmation that both Alice (Rachel Skarsten) and Julia Pennyworth (Christina Wolfe) have had previous dealings with Safiyah. The second episode of Season 2, "Prior Criminal History", took that latter dynamic into a major direction, by having Alice use Coryana's Desert Rose flower to engineer a cure for the infected citizens of Gotham, as a way to draw out Safiyah's attention.
"Safiyah is one character that she is truly and genuinely terrified by. And someone who is, for all intents and purposes, probably an even bigger evil villain than Alice," Skarsten told ComicBook.com last year. "So I think that's going to be interesting as well, because she will, in essence, be the big bad of the season. So for me, as an actor, it's kind of fun, because it changes Alice's position in a way. I'm really looking forward to doing that, and getting to work with that different dynamic."
Are you excited to see Safiyah make her debut on Batwoman? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!