This Sunday will see the return of the Arrowverse in the form of Batwoman's season two premiere. The episode is big not just for being the first new episode of DC TV in a while, but for featuring the debut of Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie), the second Batwoman, who will take over from the missing Kate Kane following the real-world departure of former series lead Ruby Rose. Wilder, like Leslie, will strive to make the role her own and to differentiate herself from the Batwoman who came before, but what is arguably more challenging is retaining the series' identity while changing the person under the cowl.
That would be a challenge for any superhero show, but doubly so for Batwoman, because so much of the series was deeply rooted in personal connections to Kate, her family, and her past. Her cousin Bruce was Batman (and season two begins with Hush impersonating him); her father heads up the Crows; her sister is the central antagonist; and her ex-girlfriend is a big part of the Crows narrative. The new character is tethered to none of that.
"Making Ryan the center of the core story of the show, and having her the nucleus of all the characters was the biggest challenge of the show," showrunner Caroline Dries told ComicBook during a press event today. "I wanted a girl that nobody was connected to, where we don't have family bonds. She's a nobody -- that's the whole point. She's invisible, she's lost in the system. So it was easier to integrate her into the Bat-world and the Bat-team because she's Batwoman and they're all working together. But then as you'll see in the first episode and especially in the second, she has a very specific relationship with Sophie, that is friction based and entertaining and has a place to grow over the course of the season. Ryan has a very strong outlook toward the Crows in general that's very specific to her, and so keeps that relationship alive. The biggest challenge to us was, how do we maintain what was so great about season 1, which is that Alice and Kate dynamic? Without spoilers, I think that we're able to pull it off in a way that feels very satisfying and grounded and organic to Ryan's character."
How the writers mesh those backgrounds is anybody's guess, considering that Kate comes from a family of immense wealth and influence, whereas Ryan is a homeless woman who fell through the cracks of the system. Fans can start to see how it all comes together this weekend.