While the initial statement following Ruby Rose's departure from Batwoman suggested that Kate Kane would be recast, a new casting call suggests that Rose will essentially take the character with her, and a new Batwoman will be created exclusively for the show. Distributed to prospective actors, the call is looking for a new Batwoman, and lest you think they're just using a fake name to throw off the press, the character description specifically shouts out Kate Kane, and the fact that this new Batwoman will be significantly different. The name (which may or may not be the final one the character ends up with when production starts in the fall) is Ryan Wilder.
The casting notice was discovered by Batwoman fans on Reddit and, when it started to circulate widely online, was pulled. It is possible that the notice was not real, although it is more likely that it was not intended for circulation in places where the public could easily find it. It is also possible that the new name and character description is a misdirect, and that what producers really want is for actors to send in their takes on Batwoman without trying to copy what Rose has already done. This could suggest a reworking of certain aspects of the character (not uncommon after an uneven first season, just ask The Office or Legends of Tomorrow) but not a true replacement.
Per the casting call, Wilder "is about to become Batwoman. She's likable, messy, a little goofy and untamed. She's also nothing like Kate Kane, the woman who wore the batsuit before her. With no one in her life to keep her on track, Ryan spent years as a drug-runner, dodging the GCPD and masking her pain with bad habits. A girl who would steal milk for an alley cat could also kill you with her bare hands, Ryan is the most dangerous type of fighter: highly skilled and wildly undisciplined. An out lesbian. Athletic. Raw. Passionate. Fallible. And very much not your stereotypical All-American hero."
There are elements there that feel like they could be drawing from Cassandra Cain or Stephanie Brown from the comics -- two young women who played the role of Batgirl over the years. It does not completely fit either, though, and in the recent past, the Arrowverse has created a number of new characters rather than falling back on DC mainstays from the source material.
How the series will deal with the loss of Kate is unclear, especially since her family heritage is such a big part of her character. As Bruce Wayne's cousin, she had certain access to his company, and earned the benefit of the doubt from Luke Fox. Her long-lost twin sister is the series' primary antagonist, and much of the story in season one centered on the complexities of their love/hate relationship.
That word "goofy" certainly is one that would have had a hard time being attached to Kate Kane, and if this is an accurate description, it may signal a shift in direction for Batwoman, which began the season as The CW's third-highest rated show (behind The Flash and Supernatural) but the ratings dwindled as the season went on (though it ended on a high note). With The Flash standing as the network's top-rated show and DC's Legends of Tomorrow arguably its best-reviewed comic book adaptation, The CW may be trying to shift its universe in a somewhat lighter direction following the end of Arrow -- ironic since "Elseworlds" showrunner Marc Guggenheim, who co-created Arrow and oversaw Ruby Rose's first outing as Kate Kane, said that bringing Batwoman in at the same time as they were setting up the end of Arrow felt like he was "introducing my wife to her new boyfriend."
Guggenheim recently said that he had no idea what the Batwoman team had planned for post-Ruby Rose, but that he saw creative opportunities in her exit.
So did some fans, who are now viewing this news with some skepticism. While the new Batwoman will also be an out lesbian, there is no indication that she will be Jewish -- and the fact that Ruby Rose is not Jewish, while Kate Kane is, was a sticking point with some fans. Others who might otherwise have been upset rolled with it because Rose was an established star prior to joining the series. But a not-insignificant number of fans have been hoping that the next Batwoman would be Jewish, and some of those people took to Twitter last night to speculate that a new character could be used as a pretext to ignore Kate's religious heritage altogether.
Batwoman is expected to return to production in the fall with an eye toward a January 2021 return on The CW.