Batwoman showrunner Caroline Dries released a statement moments ago aimed at alleviating concerns raised by the show's fans. Following the departure of Ruby Rose from the title role, Dries recently confirmed that the new Batwoman will not be Kate Kane at all, but a new character. Some fans of the show (and Kate Kane from the comics) have expressed concern and frustration that this suggested Dries would kill or otherwise "erase" the character. In a brief statement released on social media, Dries promised that she would not, and said that the disappearance of Kate Kane will drive story in the show's second season.
That has echoes of the show's first season, when Kate took on the role of Batwoman amid the disappearance of Batman -- her cousin, Bruce Wayne. As far as we know, the new Batwoman will not have any clear ties to Bruce or Kate, aside from being inspired by them. The mystery of Bruce's disappearance hung over the show until the finale, when he reappeared -- only it wasn't him, but rather Hush disguising himself as Bruce.
"As a lesbian who's been working as a writer for the past fifteen years, I'm well aware of the 'Bury Your Gays' trope and have no interest in participating in it," Dries wrote. "That's why it's important to me as the show runner to clarify any misinformation out there about Kate Kane and recasting Batwoman. Like you, I love Kate Kane -- she's the reason I wanted to do the show. We'll never erase her. In fact, her disappearance will be one of the mysteries of season two. I don't want to give away any of our surprises, but to all our devoted fans, please know that LGBTQ+ justice is at the very core of what Batwoman is, and we have no intention of abandoning that."
You can see Dries's tweet below.
A note from me on behalf of The Bat Team... pic.twitter.com/V6iXjaCrA5— Caroline Dries (@carolinedries) June 10, 2020
The "Bury Your Gays" trope, as defined on TVTropes, is "the presentation of deaths of LGBT characters where these characters are nominally able to be viewed as more expendable than their heteronormative counterparts." In some cases, the deaths are hate crimes and so exceptional circumstances (they are literally killed for being gay), although often it's just a question of shows that want to have representation, but not to write for non-straight characters. In 2016, the trope gained notoriety following the deaths of Lexa on The 100 and Denise on The Walking Dead came in rapid succession.
Batwoman is expected to go back into production in the fall, with an eye toward a January 2021 premiere date for season 2.