It’s not every day that The CW’s Arrowverse has to recast characters in their shows, and it’s especially less common to recast a lead. But, with Ruby Rose’s departure from Batwoman, they have to do just that. Originally it was thought they would recast Kate Kane, however now it seems like a completely new character with don the cape and cowl.
Ruby Rose quit ‘Batwoman’
On May 19, Rose announced on Instagram that she’s not returning in the role of Kate Kane/Batwoman on The CW show just two days after the Season 1 finale.
“This was not a decision I made lightly as I have the utmost respect for the cast, crew and everyone involved with the show in both Vancouver and in Los Angeles,” she wrote. “Thank you to everyone who made season one a success – I am truly grateful.”
She didn’t give a reason, and people speculated why she would have left the show. Back in September, she sustained a very serious spinal injury on set, although Deadline reported at the time that wasn’t the reason. Other reports since said that she couldn’t handle the work schedule, whether due to her back injury or other reasons.
“It wasn’t an easy decision but those who know, know…I didn’t want to not acknowledge everyone involved and how big this was for TV and for our community,” she wrote later in another Instagram post. “I have stayed silent because that’s my choice for now but know I adore you all. I’m sure next season will be amazing also. Xxx *hangs up cowl and cape.”
Turns out that they’re not going to recast, but bring in a new character instead
When Rose released her statement, Warner Bros. Television, The CW and Berlanti Productions did as well. They thanked Rose for her portrayal of Kate Kane, and sent well wishes. They also touched on what the future held.
“The studio and network are firmly committed to Batwoman’s second season and long-term future, and we — along with the show’s talented creative team — look forward to sharing its new direction, including the casting of a new lead actress and member of the LGBTQ community, in the coming months,” they wrote.
Now, weeks later, and it seems that they’re not going to recast, but move forward with a new character. A casting notice Deadline obtained stated that the new character is named, “Ryan Wilder,” or at least that’s the name the listing is going under right now.
The character is a woman in her 20s, according to the casting list. She’s also described as being “likable, messy, a little goofy and untamed.” She is nothing close to being the daughter of a private security company.
“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,” the listing said. “A girl who would steal milk for an alley cat could also kill you with her bare hands, Ryan is the most dangerous type of fighter: highly skilled and wildly undisciplined.”
She’s also lesbian and “very much not your stereotypical All-American hero.”
Getting rid of Kate Kane would get rid of all the work put into the story for Season 1
As Io9 wrote about the news, it’s a pretty boring solution. There are so many ways you can replace Kate Kane’s actress without actually getting rid of Kate Kane herself. It’s a DC show, for starters. With multiple universes, flying aliens, metahumans, and more, this season of Batwoman already showed that swapping faces isn’t out of the question.
Along with the fact that they could still go with a story that involves Kate Kane, changing Batwoman’s alter ego derails the whole first season. All that momentum built up, the exposition that goes into a first season, and character development is just gone.
Sure, things had to change because there’s no way to have Kate Kane be the same as before. There would have to be an explanation one way or another. But by getting rid of Kate Kane, it shutters a lot of Alice’s storyline. Alice’s current major plan is that she’s trying to get back at Kate for locking her in Arkham. She even killed Mouse to do it.
Will Season 2 kill off Kate, leaving Alice without a reason to stick around? Rachel Skarsten’s character gave the show some of its best moments, so that would be a shame. And if Kate’s not killed off, and not replaced, it’s out of character for her to just vanish. Unless, of course, she does just evaporate into thin air because of multiverse stuff or other comic book reasons.
There’s a lot of reworking Rose’s exit will cause. But moving in the direction of no Kate Kane will be a hit to the show. Nothing they can’t come back from, but it’s a large blow.