Back in May, we reported that Batwoman star Ruby Rose would be leaving the CW show, which came as a surprise since it had already been renewed for a second season and, you know, she was Batwoman. At the time, the network said that it intended to recast the role with someone else, but in yet another surprise, it now seems like that’s no longer the case. Instead of recasting Batwoman/Kate Kane with a different actor, the network is going to bring in a new character to wear the cape and cowl (and wig)—at least according to a report from Decider that has since been backed up by Deadline’s unnamed sources.
We don’t know how Batwoman is going to get rid of Kate Kane off-camera, especially when so much of the first season was about her personal relationships with some of the people who stood in the way of her mission as Batwoman (not to mention the fact that she’s Bruce Wayne’s cousin and we still don’t know what happened to him in this universe), but apparently season two will be based around this new person’s journey to become the new Batwoman. Apparently this all comes from a casting notice that’s floating around for a new Batwoman character named “Ryan Wilder” who is a “likable, messy, a little goofy, and untamed” woman in her 20s. She’s also “nothing like Kate Kane, the woman who wore the batsuit before her,” as well as a “former drug-runner” who is now reformed, sober, and living in a van. Deadline says the character is also a lesbian, like Kate Kane, and “performers who identify as LGBTQ [are] encouraged to submit for the role.” When Rose left, Warner Bros. TV noted that it was committed to replacing her with another LGBTQ actor, since Batwoman made a big deal out of the fact that it was the first superhero TV show about an LGBTQ character, so that last bit at least suggests that the studio isn’t backing down from that.
Now we’re left with a simple question: Who the hell is Ryan Wilder? That’s not somebody from the DC Comics that Batwoman is based on, so it’s either a completely original character and there’s nothing left for us to do here, or it’s a fake name being used as a stand-in for someone else from the comics. The big wrinkle there is that the modern version of Batwoman has never not been Kate Kane (at least in the regular universe), so there’s no obvious successor like there is for Batman. If we had to make a guess, though, the description for Ryan Wilder and the idea of her eventually being part of the Bat-family does line up nicely with Stephanie Brown, a character who was Batgirl for a while and later came back as a vigilante called Spoiler. She’s the daughter of a C-level Batman villain, so it would make sense for her to have a dark childhood like this Ryan Wilder, and that also gives her a built-in nemesis to dramatically battle in a season finale.
Or maybe we’re totally wrong. We’ll know... someday.