It appears the CW is preparing to separate the role of Batwoman from Kate Kane in the wake of Ruby Rose departing the series. This is a terrible idea, keep reading to find out why.
It wasn’t that long ago that fans of Batwoman were left reeling from the news that Ruby Rose would not be returning for Batwoman’s second season. While I too was sad and disappointed, I respected her decision to leave the show and was already looking forward to who might be cast as the new Kate Kane.
However, it seems the CW is looking to sidestep that idea altogether, as news broke late last night that rather than recasting the role of Kate Kane, the plan is to remove Kate from the story altogether and come up with a new female lead to take up the mantle of Batwoman. While it needs to be pointed out that this news might be a red herring on the part of the network to hide whoever is being recast in the role, I’m going to proceed on the assumption that this terrible idea is 100% happening. Because make no mistake: removing Kate Kane from Batwoman in any way is a terrible idea that could ruin the fledgling series.
To understand why this is a bad idea, you need to look back at the history of Batwoman. Since her reintroduction in 2006, Batwoman has always been Kate Kane. This isn’t a case of a number of women taking up the mantle in the past, leaving the CW free to pick and choose someone new. No, this role has always been Kate’s, it is just as much a part of her identity as Batman is to Bruce Wayne. Not to mention the not-insignificant fact that the show spent an entire season chronicling Kate’s journey from rebel daughter to Gotham’s newest protector. Removing Kate from the story now would essentially be like starting over, we’d have to invest in someone new in the part all over again, and not all audiences are okay with that.
Even if you can accept the idea of someone other than Kate Kane in the role of Batwoman, there’s the unescapable problem of what to do with the plot threads left hanging at the end of season one. Keep in mind, one of the biggest sub-plots in season 1 was the ongoing tension between Kate and her twin sister Alice. The big reason Alice hates Batwoman is because she knows that’s her twin. Give the role to someone else and a large chunk of Alice’s motivation goes out the window. Not to mention the plot was left hanging with Alice triggering a plan that hinges on Kate’s reaction to it. And then there’s Mary, Kate’s stepsister, a big motivating factor in her joining Team Batwoman was because she wanted to help and feel closer to her stepsister. Giving the part to someone who is NOT Kate Kane and not related to Bruce Wayne as Kate is just doesn’t make sense. Oh, and don’t forget that whole deal with Jacob Kane wanting Batwoman dead. If you make Batwoman anyone else, that emotional gut punch when Kane finds out what he almost did won’t happen (and it’s a moment that the show spent the last half of the season hinting towards).
Furthermore, how does the CW plan to do this without making it incredibly jarring? It’s my understanding that Ruby Rose is not coming back to the show in any way, shape, or form for season 2. The only way this terrible plan could possibly work, in my opinion, is if Rose was on hand to hand the mantle over to someone else. Unless of course the plan is to have a time jump where Kate has also mysteriously disappeared to parts unknown. The one thing the show can’t do is have a new female lead appear with no prior explanation. If the CW goes that route, Batwoman is likely doomed.
Assuming this does happen, I would do it this way: I would look to the comics and bring Bette Kane into the picture. Bette Kane is a cousin of Kate’s and one who served as something of a sidekick from time to time in the comics. I wouldn’t like it, but it would work for several reasons: one, you’re keeping the Batwoman mantle in the Kane family, preserving the family connection to Bruce Wayne and Batman. Two, it preserves the idea of Jacob Kane finding out that Batwoman is a member of his family (not quite the same as his daughter, but close enough). And three, it gives Alice a good reason to keep hating Batwoman.
As it stands, the CW is on the verge of making a major, possibly fatal mistake by removing Kate Kane from a story that by all rights is meant to revolve around Kate Kane. It would also take one heck of a well-written plot twist to pull it off. I’m not saying the writers of Batwoman can’t do it, but wouldn’t it just be easier to keep Kate Kane in the story?
I’ve become a huge Batwoman fan in the past year, and chronicling Batwoman’s first season was a dream come true. I can only hope that this decision by the CW, if it happens, doesn’t torpedo a great series before it has the chance to really get going.