It's only been a handful of weeks since Batwoman's season finale, but it's pretty safe to say that the hit The CW series has endured a pretty major change. Just days after Season 1 came to an early close (due to the COVID-19 pandemic), it was announced that series star Ruby Rose would be stepping away from the titular role as Kate Kane/Batwoman. Rose acknowledged that her decision to exit the series "wasn't an easy decision", as well as the significance of her time as Kate "for TV and for [the LGBTQ+] community". In the days after her exit was first announced, fans began to wonder exactly who would succeed Rose as Kate Kane, only for a pretty unexpected twist to be thrown in. A casting call hinted that an entirely new character would be stepping in as Kate Kane, something that was confirmed days later by showrunner Caroline Dries.
"To be honest with you, I did consider the soap opera version for a hot minute, selfishly. Because we had a couple episodes already written, and transition-wise, it would be seamless [since] we already started breaking season 2," Dries said over the weekend. "But upon further reflection, and [Arrowverse producer] Greg [Berlanti] helped me make this call, and he's way smarter than me about this sort of stuff. He's like, 'You know, I think we should just reboot the character in terms of reboot Batwoman as a different character.' Just to also respect everything that Ruby put into the Kate Kane character."
This new character, who is billed in casting calls as "Ryan Wilder", is described as a young lesbian woman who is "likable, messy, a little goofy, and untamed", who spent years as a drug-runner avoiding the GCPD. The description specifically highlights that she's "nothing like Kate Kane" and "very much not your stereotypical All-American hero".
This news has been met with a wide response from Batwoman fans, with many wondering how the entire nature of the show will change with an entirely new character at the center. There also has been debate about whether or not "Ryan Wilder" (which, on the surface, coincidentally sounds like a portmanteau of the title and star of a certain mid-2000s comedy) is actually a fake name that is being used to hide a comic-accurate character. This certainly wouldn't be the first time that the Arrowverse has done this (look no further than Arrow's "Tina Boland"), and it could theoretically allow another female DC Comics character to take over the Batwoman mantle.
While replacing Kate with another established DC character opens a whole separate can of worms, there are some options that could make this whole scenario work. Read on to find out our theories of who the new Batwoman could really be.
A streetwise young woman from one of Gotham's worst neighborhoods, Harper Row and her brother Cullen emancipated themselves and worked on the city electrical grid to make ends meet. After Batman saved Cullen in the middle of being attacked for his sexuality, Harper proceeded to want to emulate the crime-fighter, to his chagrin. Batman eventually let Harper into his inner circle, but instead of suiting up as a new Robin, she established the mantle of Bluebird instead.
Fans have already wondered about Bluebird's role in the Arrowverse, with many speculating that Parker Torres, a young girl who was mentored by Kate in Season 1, would take on the role. Regardless of whether or not that ends up happening, it certainly doesn't seem impossible for Harper to make her presence known in Gotham - and her street-savvy past and unconventional methods certainly feel in line with what's described of "Ryan Wilder". Harper is also canonically bisexual (and flirted with Batwoman in the comics), which could easily be tweaked to her being a lesbian.
Even with only a handful of noncanonical comic appearances under her belt, Carrie Kelley has developed a pretty unique following among Batman fans. Debuting in Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns in 1986, Carrie was a thirteen-year-old schoolgirl who a much older Batman saved from a group of muggers. Carrie proceeded to spend her lunch money on a Robin costume, and eventually was recruited into Batman's crusade. In Dark Knight III: The Master Race, Carrie eventually suited up as the Batwoman of Earth-31.
In a way, the description for "Ryan Wilder" doesn't sound incredibly far off from her characterization in the comics, especially as there's a lot about her that still hasn't been explored. Given how long fans have been waiting to see in live-action, and her history with the Batwoman mantle, Carrie would undoubtedly be one of the best fits to take over for Kate.
Whether as Robin, Batgirl, or Spoiler, Stephanie Brown has made a significant impact on the Batfamily -- but still has yet to make her live-action debut. Stephanie decided to suit up as the Spoiler to outsmart her father, the Cluemaster, and caught the attention of Batman and Tim Drake in the process. Once Tim hung up the cape and cowl, she then took over the mantle of Robin, only to seemingly die after being tortured by Black Mask. It was later revealed that Stephanie faked her own death, returning as Spoiler, and then eventually suiting up as Batgirl (although that has sparked some debate over the years).
While the idea of Stephanie suiting up as Batwoman - complete with Kate's red wig - does feel a little unusual, it certainly wouldn't be the weirdest thing that has happened to her in the DC world. Plus, the allure of her live-action debut would be intriguing for fans who aren't happy
A fairly recent addition to the DC canon, Claire Clover/Gotham Girl debuted alongside her brother, Hank Clover/Gotham, at the beginning of DC Rebirth. The siblings were a pair of metahumans who traded years of their lives in exchange for superpowers, something that was manipulated by Psycho Pirate, and culminated in Hank's death. After coping with that loss, Claire decided to continue to suit up as Gotham Girl, partnered with the Batfamily on multiple occasions, and was eventually given her powers back.
While Claire's origin would realistically have to be modified, the idea of her suiting up as Batwoman almost feels weird enough to work. The show could toy with Claire and Hank's relationship in a much more grounded context, while also having the ability to establish a lot of new things about her.
As soon as the casting description for "Ryan Wilder" popped up online, fans began to argue that the character feels like a weird mixture of Catwoman and Poison Ivy. A comic-accurate character who fits that theoretical bill, while also having a complicated history in her own right, is Holly Robinson. Initially established as a sex worker who lives with Selina Kyle, Holly goes on to be trained to fight by Wildcat, and even takes over the Catwoman mantle following the birth of Selina's daughter.
While the description for Ryan might not entirely cover who Holly is, there's no denying that there are some similarities between the two. Holly is also the first character on this list who has been canonically established as a lesbian, which would make her suiting up as Batwoman feel a little fitting.
A little over a year ago, the current run of Batman Beyond introduced Elainna Grayson, a young woman who is the daughter of Dick Grayson/Robin. The future-set storyline then threw in another twist, by having Elainna moonlight as the new "Batwoman Beyond".
Yes, the logistics of making Elainna Batwoman in the Arrowverse's present-day are a little messy, especially when Earth-Prime's Bruce isn't that old, which would make a hypothetical Dick Grayson too young to have a grown child. But there could be a way to modify her lineage to still work within Batwoman's timeline -- while also tapping into the legacy of the Batwoman mantle in another way.
Kate Kane From Another Earth
Sure, it certainly sounds like the next Batwoman might not be named Kate Kane -- but that might not be a definite thing. The Arrowverse is no stranger to weaving in doppelgangers from other Earths, and having them eventually take over for their Earth-Prime counterpart, with Arrow's Laurel Lance perhaps being the biggest example.
While the casting description certainly makes it sound like they want to differentiate from Kate Kane, there's a chance that they could just be wanting to differentiate from her Earth-Prime characterization. The multiverse has produced doppelgangers that look nothing alike before (heck, "Crisis on Infinite Earths" introduced three different versions of Clark Kent/Superman in the span of a few hours). It certainly doesn't seem impossible that somewhere, out in the multiverse, there's an alternate version of Kate who is "likable, messy, a little goofy, and untamed", who didn't grow up in the shadow of her dad forming The Crows, but who still has the drive to fight for whatever version of Gotham City she's in. While it would be a bit of a narrative leap, it would allow Batwoman to evolve - and still respect Rose's Kate Kane - without completely taking away its titular character.1comments
Batwoman is currently poised to return with new episodes in January of 2021.
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