Warning: The following contains SPOILERS for Gotham Knights season 1, episode 6, “A Chill in Gotham.”The DC show Gotham Knights revealed a big change to the backstory of Stephanie Brown, which completely alters her motivations for becoming a hero. The changes are tied to Stephanie’s father, Arthur Brown, who made his first on-screen appearance in Gotham Knights season 1, episode 6, “A Chill in Gotham.” Both characters enjoy a relationship that is drastically different from the Batman comics, for which they were originally created.
Played by Anna Lore, Stephanie Brown is Turner Hayes’ best friend and the only person who believed he was innocent after he was accused of murdering Bruce Wayne. One of the few Gotham Knights characters who is not a wanted fugitive, Stephanie a certified genius and experienced hacker, who is surprisingly at home with dirty deeds. This earned her the animosity of the equally brilliant Harper Row, who views Stephanie as a “poor little rich girl” who turned to crime out of boredom, whereas Harper became a criminal to survive. The irony is that both girls have suffered because of their fathers’ neglect, but do not know their shared pain.
Stephanie Brown’s Father In the DC Comics Is The Villain Cluemaster
In the comics, Stephanie Brown’s father, Arthur Brown, was a failed game show host. He unwisely ripped off The Riddler’s gimmick, dubbed himself Cluemaster, and began committing crimes while leaving the authorities clues as to what he was doing. Arthur seemingly reformed after serving his sentence, but Stephanie discovered that he was planning heists for other criminals in exchange for a cut of the take. This pushed Stephanie to become the vigilante called The Spoiler, leaving clues to her father’s crimes for Batman and Robin to discover. Stephanie became an ally and love interest for Tim Drake’s Robin, later adopting the Robin identity and ultimately becoming the third Batgirl.
How Stephanie Brown’s Backstory Change Impacts The Gotham Knights Character
In Gotham Knights, Arthur Brown is a successful trivia game show host, known as “the Master of Clues.” His only crime is being a workaholic, who is so devoted to his show that he rarely sees his family. Arthur is also completely unaware that his wife developed an opiate addiction. Despite this, Arthur is depicted as a loving, if distant, father and husband, whose neglect is born of his earnest desire to provide a life of luxury for his wife and daughter. This is similar to another Gotham Knights change, which transformed Carrie Kelley’s neglectful mother from the comics into an emergency room surgeon who worked long hours.
Despite not being a criminal in this reality, Arthur Brown still plays a role in Stephanie deciding to become a vigilante in earnest in Gotham Knights season 1, episode 6, “A Chill in Gotham.” After manipulating her father into helping her crack a coded ledger, Stephanie decides to join the more combat-oriented Knights in investigating what turns out to be an illegal opiate processing facility. While Stephanie proves a capable fighter, she freezes up when confronted with a gun. This prompts an emotional breakdown after Harper saves her life, as Stephanie begins destroying all the opiates, which she recognizes as the same type her mother favors.
It remains to be seen if Stephanie Brown will wind up donning a costume like in the comics or adopt her Spoiler identity in Gotham Knights. It seems unlikely, as Arthur Brown is too honest to help his daughter cheat on what she claims is a school assignment, though he does give her a clue that leads her to the answer on her own. However, there’s a chance he could go mad and become the Cluemaster of the comics should his fortunes suddenly change.
Gotham Knights season 1 continues on Tuesdays on The CW.