After Ruby Rose’s unexpected departure after just one season of Batwoman, there has been a great deal of speculation about who would pick up the red-headed cowl and become the new Kate Kane. However, now that a casting notice has been released, it has been reported that the show will replace not only Rose, but Kate as well with an entirely new character named Ryan Wilder who will take up the Batwoman mantle that Kate has vacated.
The introduction of a brand-new character is an excellent opportunity for The CW to debut a truly original hero as the lead on one of its Arrowverse shows. In the past, fans have been critical when previous heroes diverted from their comics roots. An original lead as Batwoman is a chance to build the character from the ground up without the baggage of a well-known past. The Arrowverse has proven over the years that the creative teams behind the shows are talented and passionate about the superhero genre. This opportunity to create an original character feels like a well-earned moment to flex their creative muscles by taking what they know about superheros and applying it to a new persona.
The Arrowverse has had success with its original characters in the past. For example, John Diggle on Arrow was a ground-breaking original character on the first Arrowverse show. Diggle quickly grew into a fan favorite and paved the way for other original characters to appear. With the departure of Ruby Rose and comics character Kate Kane, it feels like the right time for her show to be led by a wholly original character.
The freedom that imagining a brand-new character allows the show’s creative team is incredibly exciting. Not only can they create without the restrictions of a previously established character, but they can avoid having to deal with the potential drama of a recasting situation. Recasting Rose has the potential to lead to a heavy amount of unfair comparison between Rose and her replacement, likely resulting in unfair negative feelings towards both actors. Giving a new actor the opportunity to come in to lead the show as a new character ensures discussion will focus on the character instead. Discussing characters and stories passionately is a more positive experience when there is not a negative attack against a specific actor.
The first season of Batwoman spent a lot of time building up Kate Kane and her personal relationships. There are still lots of places for the writers to potentially take that character. And by opting not to replace Kate Kane, the door remains open for Rose to make guest appearances to wrap up those storylines and pass the torch to the new Batwoman.
At the same time, though, due to the trials she’s gone through, the writers have created plenty of reasons for Kate to leave Gotham and abandon the path she had just recently started down. It would be interesting for a new Batwoman to step in for Kate after she disappears, just as Kate did when Bruce Wayne disappeared. This could be a satisfying narrative direction to take the show as opposed to casting a new actor as Kate and pretending nothing’s changed.
The casting call for the character of Ryan Wilder describes a 20-something woman who is nothing like Kate Kane, indicating the creative team behind Batwoman is ready to embrace the opportunity to create the Arrowverse’s first wholly original lead character. This is an opportunity to bring in brand-new stories without being restricted in any way by the comics. The Arrowverse has done a good job utilizing recognizable comic-book characters, but the circumstances surrounding Batwoman make it the right time to expand the universe with a completely unique lead hero.
Returning to The CW in Jan. 2021, Batwoman stars Rachel Skarsten, Meagan Tandy, Camrus Johnson, Dougray Scott and Nicole Kang. The series airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
Ruby Rose's departure from Batwoman opens up the opportunity for the show to debut the first wholly original lead hero to the Arrowverse.