Swapping Kate Kane for a New Character in Batwoman Is a Huge Mistake
Ruby Rose’s exit from The CW’s Batwoman as Kate Kane, the titular Batwoman, shouldn’t be such a big issue. Despite it not being that common, starring actor changes do happen. I don’t think Rose herself was the draw of the show—more so the opportunity for a canonically lesbian character to be played by a lesbian was big news, not to mention all that was canon to Kane already, so no one could cry “SJW!” Yet, The CW has decided that along with Rose, the character of Kate Kane herself is going, too.
According to Deadline, Batwoman creator, executive producer, and showrunner Caroline Dries explained this decision during part of a virtual ATX TV event. “To be honest with you, I did consider the soap opera version for a hot minute, selfishly because we had already a couple of episodes written, and transition-wise it would be seamless,” Dries said.
“Upon further reflection — and Greg helped me make this call, he is way smarter than me about this sort of stuff — he said, you know, we should just reboot the character in terms of reboot Batwoman as a different character, and also respect everything that Ruby put into the Katy Kane character. And I just think it helps the audience a little bit too, that we are not asking them to not address the elephant in the room.”
And who exactly is this character? Is it a character from Batman lore who could read as a lesbian and fans would actually enjoy seeing take up the mantle (cough adult Carrie Kelley cough)? Nope. It’s going to be an original character that Dries made up.
“I’m inventing a whole new character who, in her past, was inspired by Batwoman,” Dries explained, “so she will take on the mantle and is completely maybe not the right person at the time to be doing it, so that’s what makes it fun.”
Don’t worry, Deadline also mentions that this plan got approval from Dries’ Vampire Diaries colleague Julie Plec … because her opinion is gold, apparently?
I truly don’t understand the logic behind this choice. The show was popular, and while I know that Ruby Rose herself is popular on some sections of the internet, I don’t think the actress was the series’ #1 draw. That’s fine, and now they would theoretically have plenty of chances to pick a talented lesbian actress for the role—pick anyone they like and just go with it. We literally did it when Supergirl’s mother looked totally different from season one to subsequent seasons.
Most audiences who are really into these shows have at least heard from Facebook and Twitter that she’s not coming back. Elephant in the room be damned. What made this show interesting and worth watching was Kate Kane: what she means to LGBTQ comics and what it meant to have that character lead a show.
Deadline has been saying that scripts about this new character claim that her name (at least at the moment) is Ryan Wilder and that she is a “former drug-runner, the now-reformed and sober Ryan lives in her van with her plant and is a highly skilled but wildly undisciplined fighter.” How very Jason Todd of her. Wilder is also younger than Kane and is “likable, messy, a little goofy and untamed.”
Everything about this feels weird. I don’t think it honors the show, the character of Kate, or the viewers who wanted to see this character brought to life. Ruby Rose played Batwoman, but anyone can fill the cowl. We have proven that time and time again. Why not now?
There has yet to be an explanation with a satisfying rationale.
(via Deadline, image: Liane Hentscher/The CW)
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