The CW’s Batwoman will have a new lead next season following the exit of star Ruby Rose. In a conversation with fellow showrunner Julie Plec as part of ATX TV…from the Couch virtual festival, Batwoman creator/executive producer/showrunner Caroline Dries spoke of the decision to introduce a new character instead of recasting Rose’s Kate Kane, an approach regularly used in soaps where new actors step into ongoing characters all the time.
“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.
The Hollywood production shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic cut short the freshman season of Batwoman, leaving a couple of finished scripts with Kate Kane unproduced. Instead, Season 2 will feature a new lead character, listed in the casting notice as Ryan Wilder, who is younger than Kate Kane, and will chronicle how she becomes Batwoman. Dries revealed how she and the other Batwoman EPs, including Greg Berlanti, reached that decision.
“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 Kate 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.”
It is unclear whether Ryan is a newly created character or a code name for an existing DC character; Drias indicated that it may be a new creation.
“I’m inventing a whole new character who in her past was inspired by Batwoman, 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.”
The plan got thumbs-up from The Vampire Diaries and Legacies executive producer/showrunner Plec who previously worked with Dries on TVD and the 2016 pilot Recon.
During the duo’s pre-recorded virtual conversation, Dries also spoke of the tough times and moments of joy involved in being a showrunner, including difficult notes calls and the gratifying testimonials from LGBTQ viewers speaking about how Batwoman has made a difference in their lives.
Batwoman is the first superhero series in television history to feature an avowed LGBTQ character as the central character.