Two days after the Batwoman finale aired, it was announced that series lead, Ruby Rose would be departing after just one season. Social media immediately lit up with speculation about who would be donning Kate Kane’s cowl. Unfortunately, it was released last week that instead of a recast, the show will be getting a brand new character, Kate Kane will be no more.
The new character, Ryan Wilder, is described as “Likable, messy, a little goofy, and untamed. With no one in her life to keep her on track, Ryan spent years as a drug-runner, dodging the GCPD and masking her pain with bad habits. Today, reformed and sober, Ryan lives in a van with her plant. A girl who would steal milk from an alley cat and could also kill you with her bare hands, Ryan is the most dangerous type of fighter: highly skilled and wildly disciplined. An out lesbian. Athletic. Raw. Passionate. Fallible. And very much not your stereotypical All-American hero.”
During a Q&A over the weekend, showrunner Caroline Dries spoke about the decision to reboot with a new character, saying, “To be honest with you, I did consider the soap opera version for a hot minute, selfishly, because we had a couple episodes already written, and transition-wise, it would be seamless [since] we already started breaking season 2. But upon further reflection, and Greg [Berlanti] helped me make this call…he’s like, ‘You know, I think we should just reboot Batwoman as a different character.’ Just to also respect everything that Ruby [Rose] put into the Kate Kane character.” Dries added, ” it also helps the audience, because we’re not asking them to address ‘the elephant in the room’” by accepting a new face as the same person.”
I’m not sure what show Dries thought she was making, but Batwoman is a comic book show, which are soaps in their own right, and a suspension of disbelief comes with the territory. Why avoid the elephant in the room? Make jokes about it! Just a few lines of dialogue are all you need, “Did you change your hair?” “Did you get taller?” “I can’t put my finger on what’s different.” The audience is there for Kate Kate, for Batwoman, not for Ruby Rose. Just like the audience will always be there for Batman/Bruce Wayne and not just Adam West (well known as the original Batman)…or Michael Keaton.. Or Kevin Conroy..Or Val Kilmer.. or George Clooney… Or Ben Affleck… or whoever is set to come next. What they stand for is what matters. The relationships they have is what matters. The interpersonal relationships on the series is what keeps people watching. You don’t need to reboot the series with a new character, just bring in a new face.
Rebooting the show with a completely new character is also a slap in the face to any Kate Kane/Batwoman fan. As an out lesbian, Kate is an important character to a lot of LGBTQ fans and it’s insulting that Dries and Berlanti feel she’s so replaceable that they can just throw a new character in and that’s sufficient. Although I guess it does save them money, they won’t have to pay DC for any rights for an original character.
It’s a shame that this is what Batwoman fans, at least the ones sticking around, have to look forward to for season two. The show really found its footing throughout season one and had a lot of potential going forward. At this point, fans are set for another season spent learning Batwoman’s connections to Gotham, her relationships, and what drives her and it’ll reset the whole feel of the show. How do you introduce a new Batwoman and maintain those relationships with Luke (Camrus Johnson), Mary ( Nicole Kang), Sophie (Meagan Tandy), and possibly most importantly, Alice (Rachel Skarsten). Kate’s relationship with Alice was a driving force in the first season and I know I’m not the only one who was looking forward to seeing where it was going.
If they’re going to reboot a character, they should probably just sit back and think about what they’ve done to Jacob Kane (Dougray Scott).