With all due respect to the Fries family, all is most definitely not chill in Gotham City right now. The CW’s Batwoman finds itself in a constantly-evolving main character swap. Last month, Ruby Rose announced that she would not be reprising the role of Kate Kane for season 2, with showrunner Caroline Dries revealing shortly afterward that a new character would take Kane’s place beneath the cape and cowl. An understandable move, but one that led to worries that Batwoman would be killing off the character, a problematic issue in light of television’s long history—and, honestly, the CW’s history specifically—of killing off LGBTQ characters purely for plot purposes.
Not so in this case, says Dries. In a recent statement, the showrunner noted that Kate Kane won’t be dying any time soon, and the circumstances around her disappearance will actually factor in to the story of season 2. Here’s what she said:
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 I have no interest in participating in it. That’s why it’s important to me as the showrunner 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.
Although it was first reported the role would simply be recast, Dries recently explained why the creative team decided to bring in an entirely new character.
“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. But upon further reflection, and [EP] 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 [Rose] put into the Kate Kane character.”
Batwoman will return for season 2…eventually, in 2021. For more on the series, here is executive producer Marc Guggenheim on why Rose’s exit is a “great creative opportunity.”