Batwoman: Could Kate Kane's Return Pay Tribute to DC's Original Batwoman?

Batwoman has now reached the midpoint of its sophomore season, and it has left essentially no stone unturned in its nine episodes. The CW series already returned on an unexpected new status quo, after the departure of series star Ruby Rose led the series to write out her character, Kate Kane, and focus on an entirely new Batwoman, Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie). Just before the midseason finale, the series subverted fans' expectations yet again, with the news that a "revamped" version of Kate would be returning to the series, to be played by Krypton star Wallis Day. While we still have yet to see Day fully make her debut as Kate, the series has dropped some hints about exactly where her story is going next — and there's a chance those hints could lead to an homage to DC Comics' very first Batwoman.

In the midseason finale, viewers learned that Kate was being held captive in a dingy basement by Roman Sionis/Black Mask (Peter Outerbridge), and that the majority of the skin on her face had been lost when she was initially pulled out of the wreckage of the plane crash in the Season 2 premiere. Sionis brought in Enigma (Laura Minnell), a woman with the ability to erase or manipulate people's memories, and the episode ended with her promising to work her magic on Kate, to the point where "Kate Kane" wouldn't exist anymore.

There are definitely a number of options for how Batwoman could deal with Kate's identity change, both with regards to her personality and with regard to whatever new alias she goes by. While there's no telling what path Batwoman will ultimately go with, it would be interesting to see the series work in some sort of homage to Katherine "Kathy" Kane, the very first woman to take the mantle of Batwoman in the comics.

Created by Edmond Hamilton and Sheldon Moldoff in 1956's Detective Comics #233, Kathy Kane was (like Kate) a wealthy socialite in Gotham City — but had wildly different motivations for becoming Batwoman. Instead of being Bruce Wayne's cousin, Kathy was completely unrelated to the man, and instead had a romantic infatuation with Batman. Across her first few appearances in DC canon, Kathy's Batwoman helped Batman and Robin fight criminals on multiple occasions — and as a civilian, she also dated Bruce Wayne, completely unaware that they were one and the same. As the years went on, Kathy remained a member of the Bat-family, and even got her own sidekick in the form of her niece, Betty Kane/Batgirl.

Kathy continued to fight crime as both Batwoman and (occasionally) Cat-Woman, only to die at the hands of the League of Assassins in 1979's Detective Comics #485. This choice was later retconned when Kathy was reintroduced to the comics in 2008's Batwoman #678, when it was revealed that she had staged her own death to go underground and serve as the headmistress of the covert organization Spyral.


Even if Kate doesn't immediately go by Kathy during her return on Batwoman (although they could, if the series wanted to clearly differentiate from Rose's take on Kate while also wrapping up Kate's overall storyline), there still could be some interesting parallels between her potential trajectory and the one Kathy goes on in the comics. In particular, the notion that Kate is now declared dead in the public eye — and Ryan has now been embraced as Gotham's new Batwoman — would theoretically allow this "revamped" Kate to eventually go underground and use her talents in a new context.

Batwoman airs Sundays at 8/7c on The CW.