Batwoman Showrunner: Kate Kane Recast Didn't Feel Like the Right Move

By now, viewers of The CW's Batwoman know that Javicia Leslie's Ryan Wilder is going to have her hands full this season as she assumes the cowl to defend Gotham from the likes of Alice (Rachel Skarsten), Safiyah (Shivaani Ghai), hitman Victor Zsasz (Alex Morf), and Black Mask and the False Face Society. But as the season-opener title tells us, there's one huge mystery casting a shadow over it all: "What Happened to Kate Kane?"- one that series showrunner Caroline Dries explained to EW does right by the character previously played by Ruby Rose as opposed to just recasting the role.

Batwoman season 2 key art released (Image: The CW)
Batwoman season 2 key art released (Image: The CW)

"Keeping this mystery of Kate alive, the reason I think the audience might hopefully invest in this idea is that the fans' reaction to finding out that we weren't doing an actor swap for Kate was overwhelming to me," Dries revealed. "It was shocking to me that so many people were willing to just say, 'It's fine. Just put another actress in there. We'll forget it. We'll move on.' So that made me realize that Ruby may be gone from the show, but there is a whole world of possibilities with what we can do with this character." As Dries saw it, going with another actor would've been too much to ask of the audience and impacted the narrative flow between the seasons. "It didn't feel like the right move for me because honestly, it just felt weird and awkward, and unearned. I'm not opposed to recasting the character of Kate Kane at all. But doing a swap out without any story motivation behind it felt really weird to me. To me, it was asking too much of the audience," she said.

Dries continued, "And in a way — I don't know if the audience would agree with this — it was almost negating season 1 and saying, 'Okay, you just need to start watching season 2 to really get the show because…' But not even that. If we were to have all seasons of the series, it would almost feel like season 1 was the anomaly, which I don't want it to feel like. I want it to feel all like one piece of a continuing story. So again, I'm not opposed to the idea of a new actress playing Kate Kane, but in the heat of the moment, just to do a swap and act like nothing happened within our story is a lot for me to digest as the creative lead of the show."

A Look at What's Ahead for Batwoman Season 2

In season two of Batwoman, when Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie) first discovers Kate Kane's Batsuit, she has no idea how drastically her life is about to change. A sassy, smart lesbian with a difficult past, Ryan sees the suit as her chance to finally be powerful and no longer a victim as she survives in the tough streets of the city.

Batwoman Showrunner: Kate Kane Recast Didn't Feel Like the Right Move
Photo: The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

While Ryan goes rogue in the shadows, Gotham grapples with their missing hero, believing Batwoman has fled the city after a public stand-off with Commander Jacob Kane (Dougray Scott) and the Crows. But Kate Kane's disappearance hits hardest at home where Jacob, Sophie (Meagan Tandy), Luke (Camrus Johnson), Mary (Nicole Kang), and even Alice (Rachel Skarsten) each struggle with the devastating news in their own way. Meanwhile, the False Face Society tightens its grip on Gotham, distributing a perilous new drug known as Snakebite, "Bruce Wayne" (Warren Christie) finds his way home to wreak havoc, Safiyah (Shivaani Ghai) surfaces with plans for revenge, and a new set of villains descends on the city.

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Photo: The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

It's not long before Ryan realizes how much the symbol on the suit means to Gotham, launching her on a personal journey that takes her from fledgling substitute to confident caped crusader, from living in her van with her plant to chasing villains in the Batmobile. Ryan Wilder becomes a very different Batwoman than Kate Kane – her own Batwoman – but with the same understanding of what it means to be a hero.

Batwoman released a new poster for the second season. (Image: The CW)
(Image: The CW)

Based on the characters from DC, Batwoman is from Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television with executive producers Greg Berlanti (Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl), Caroline Dries (The Vampire Diaries, Smallville), Geoff Johns (Arrow, The Flash, Titans), Chad Fiveash (The Vampire Diaries, Gotham), James Patrick Stoteraux (The Vampire Diaries, Gotham) and Sarah Schechter (Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl). Shivani Ghai (Dominion, The Catch), Leah Gibson (Jessica Jones), Nathan Owens (Devious Maids), and Alex Morf (Gotham) join the second season's cast.

About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.

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