Gotham will have to change its 2020 census information after all. In a reversal from an earlier confirmation that the CW would be recasting Ruby Rose’s lead character in Batwoman following her abrupt departure, the network will instead be introducing a new character that assumes the superhero title. According to a casting notice obtained by THR and Decider, the character Kate Kane, an openly gay cousin of Bruce Wayne, will be replaced by a freshly invented character who goes by the name Ryan Wilder, a 20-something woman who “is about to become Batwoman.” Her character description is as follows:
She’s likable, messy, a little goofy and untamed. She’s also nothing like Kate Kane, the woman who wore the batsuit before her. 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. 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. An out lesbian. Athletic. Raw. Passionate. Fallible. And very much not your stereotypical All-American hero.
In May, Rose departed Batwoman after her debut season, which was shortened by two episodes due to the coronavirus pandemic. While reports at the time characterized the decision as mutual between the network and Rose (“this was not a decision I made lightly,” she said in a statement), subsequent intel revealed that Rose was reportedly frustrated over the long hours demanded of a show lead and didn’t enjoy living in Vancouver, where Batwoman films for the majority of the year. “It wasn’t 100 percent her decision,” an industry source shared. “It was a breakup. She wasn’t happy working on the show, and did that make her fun to work with? No.”
Update, June 7: Batwoman showrunner Julie Plec confirmed the decision to invent a new character during an interview at the ATX TV…From the Couch virtual festival. Per Deadline, Plec admitted that she initially wanted to “selfishly” recast the role “soap-opera” style, because she had already written several scripts for season two. Arrowverse executive producer Greg Berlanti, however, helped sway her decision. “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,” Plec explained. “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.”
Plec also confirmed that Ryan Wilder is going to be “a whole new character,” as opposed to a code name for an existing character within the DC Universe. “She will take on the mantle,” Plec said, “and is completely maybe not the right person at the time to be doing it, so that’s what makes it fun.”