Batwoman Casts Shivaani Ghai as Season 2 Villain Safiyah Sohail

Batwoman may have officially found its next Big Bad. The hit The CW series revealed on Thursday that Shivaani Ghai will be playing Safiyah Sohail, a villain who is expected to make her debut in Season 2. Ghai will be joining the series in what is described as a major recurring role. This comes just days before the show's panel at the DC FanDome: Explore the Multiverse virtual convention this weekend. Ghai is known for her roles in Dominion, The Catch, and London Has Fallen.

Ghai's take on Safiyah is described as the fiercely protective ruler of a small community on the island of Coryana. A woman with as many enemies as aliases, she is compassionate and charismatic with both physical and psychological prowess. She is beloved by her people and will stop at nothing to protect what's hers. No one goes unnoticed by Safiyah, specifically when it comes to those who have encountered the Desert Rose.

In the comics, Safiyah is the ruler of a pirate nation called Coryana, who saves Kate Kane's life during the middle of her post-coming-out trip around the world. Kate and Safiyah become lovers, but they ultimately part ways when Kate accidentally carries a deadly disease onto the island, and Safiyah blames it on an innocent man. Years later, Safiyah has become a leader of the Many Arms of Death, a terrorist organization with reach across the world. Kate tracks down Safiyah, who has apparently kidnapped and drugged Beth in order to bring back the "Alice" personality. Alice then becomes the leader of the Many Arms of Death, and Kate and Julia Pennyworth have to stop her.

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 her.

"We know viewers are like, 'This show is only missing one thing, and it's lesbian pirates,'" showrunner Caroline Dries told earlier this year. "I love the Safiyah storyline in the comics, and we knew we wanted to bring her in at some point. But we didn't want to waste her or blow out her character in Season 1 when there are all these other hijinks happening. So we're really kind of teeing her up to be our baddie in Season 2."


This subversion of Safiyah's comic book storyline - namely, her not having an existing relationship with Kate - might be a blessing in disguise, now that Ruby Rose's version of Kate Kane has officially departed the show. Season 2 is expected to see a new Batwoman, Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie), take on the mantle -- and it seems like things could be teed up for her to face off against Safiyah.

batwoman season 2 safiyah shivaani ghai
(Photo: Faye Thomas)

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