Ryan Wilder Is Batwoman and Recasting Kate Kane Shouldn’t Change That
And that's the gospel truth.
Just because Kate Kane has been recast, with Krypton actor Wallis Day, doesn’t mean that Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie) is no longer Batwoman. This needs to be said out loud and reiterated until the cows come home because Ryan Wilder fans are scared of what this means for the Batwoman that they’ve connected with. But there’s no need to worry. Ryan isn’t going anywhere. If anything, her role as Batwoman is being further solidified.
According to showrunner Caroline Dries in a TVLine interview, the Bat Team has moved on. They think Kate is dead. So, it’s going to be their time to actually grieve without any “Well she might still be out there” floating in their heads. That means that Ryan is going to hold the mantle of Batwoman and have the support of the Bat Team. There’s no one there to take up the job besides Ryan, and Gotham needs a hero to step up and take care of the city. That person is Ryan.
During the interview, Dries also mentioned that Ryan’s mentality has changed when it comes to being Batwoman. She’s been on edge since she put the Batsuit on. It’s partially because this is a huge role to step into. Who wouldn’t be nervous? I know I would. But it’s also because she’s been afraid that once they found Kate, the suit would be taken away from her and she wouldn’t be needed anymore.
Now that Kate has been declared dead, though the audience knows otherwise, that feeling has changed for Ryan. She’s Batwoman now. And that shift in thinking, that understanding, is pivotal to what Ryan does next as Batwoman. Because she now has the time to fully embrace the role and think about what it means to be Batwoman beyond using the suit as a means of getting revenge on Alice and her recently decimated Wonderland Gang.
Embracing who she is as Batwoman is going to change Ryan. Sure, the confidence is going to go up. But more importantly, Ryan is going to start figuring out where she draws the line, what kind of hero’s journey she’s on, and what she stands for when things get tough. And she’ll do it all without the thought hanging around that she might be replaced or set aside as soon as Kate Kane returns.
When Kate, the new version of her, returns, I still don’t see the role of Batwoman being taken away from Ryan, though that fear among fans is understandable. It would be a huge blow, and I hope those behind the show understand that.
By the time of Kate’s return, we’ll have a whole season’s worth of Javicia Leslie as Batwoman. But more importantly, we’ll have a season’s worth of Ryan being the hero of this story and knowing it. That conviction, that knowledge, is key, and I don’t think for a second that Kate would come back and crush Ryan’s mission to protect and serve because she’s also Batwoman.
Or more accurately, Kate Kane was Batwoman. The mantle has been taken on by another warrior who wants to make change happen. And I think Kate would accept that and still use her money, skills, and influence to support Ryan and her journey as Batwoman. Because with or without the suit, they’re both heroes who just want what’s best for the people of Gotham.
(image: The CW)
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