If you had to choose a term that best describes the progression thus far of The CW’s Batwoman, “big change” would be a contender. Season 2 saw Javicia Leslie replace Ruby Rose as the series’ eponymous crime fighter, and now season 3 has not only turned one of Batwoman’s closest allies into an enemy, but into a version of one of Batman’s most famous villains in Batman’s rogues’ gallery. Nicole Kang, who’s played Team Batwoman regular Mary Hamilton since the beginning of the series, is now a new version of Poison Ivy, dubbed Poison Mary. Now, for the first time we get the OG Poison Ivy, Pamela Isley, in a trailer for the upcoming return to season 3 of Batwoman.
The trailer comes from the twitter feed of CW18 in Milwaukee. The shot of the Pamela Isley, played by Bridget Regan (Jane the Virgin), is brief but wonderfully dramatic — showing her rising out of the water like a mythical creature. We also get to see Nick Creegan’s Marquis Jet, who is being teased as something of a new version of the Joker. You can watch the preview below.
While the next episode of Batwoman will give us our first look at Regan as Poison Ivy, her influence has already been deeply felt in the third season. Early on, Mary is poisoned by one of Isley’s plants and since then Ivy’s influence on Mary has been growing, eventually putting this new Poison Mary in direct conflict with both Batwoman and Luke (Camrus Johnson). Apparently, Isley will finally be taking a more direct hand in things starting with the episode premiering January 12. The shot of Regan is quick, so here’s a better look at it if you don’t want to mess around with the pause button.
Surprisingly, in spite of the character’s popularity, Regan’s Batwoman role is only the third time Poison Ivy has been adapted to live-action. A version played by multiple actresses — born Ivy Pepper rather than Pamela Isley — appears in the prequel series Gotham. The first actress to play her was Uma Thurman, in the infamous 1997 franchise-killer Batman & Robin. The association with that film might be one of the reasons creators haven’t been too gung-ho about adapting her to live-action again.
Another reason for the hesitation could be what makes Poison Ivy uncommon among Batman’s rogues. Unlike most of the Dark Knight’s most popular enemies — e.g., the Joker, Riddler, Penguin, Two-Face, etc. — Poison Ivy actually has super powers. While they vary between iterations, Ivy usually has abilities that allow her to control plants and make them do what they could never do on their own, like ensnare or even crush victims. She also can usually exert some for of mind control over others, which is what Batwoman‘s Ivy seems to be doing to Mary Hamilton. While these powers make her a more difficult antagonist to overcome, they don’t fit with the usually grim-and-gritty Batman stories we get these days.
It will be interesting to see exactly how Poison Ivy’s story unfolds over the current season of Batwoman. In most recent media in which she appears, Pamela Isley is much more of a sympathetic character. It hasn’t been uncommon — in the comics for example, or even in the popular 2015 video game Batman: The Arkham Knight — to see Ivy working alongside superheroes. If the trend continues on Batwoman, there could be even more big changes in store.