In a major surprise, Ruby Rose has departed the lead role on The CW's Batwoman after a single season. Producer Warner Bros. TV says the role will be recast.
The announcement Tuesday — two days after the show's season finale — leaves the series without a lead actress for the time being. A timeline for a new actress to take over the historic role has yet to be determined. Batwoman was renewed for a second season in January, along with 12 other scripted series on The CW, and was set to anchor the network's Sunday night starting in early 2021.
Batwoman made TV history as the first scripted live-action TV series to feature a lesbian superhero at the top of the call sheet. It was important to the production and openly gay producers Greg Berlanti and showrunner Caroline Dries that the part went to a member of the LGBTQ community.
Both Rose and producers Warner Bros. TV and Berlanti Productions praised one another in statements announcing her departure.
“I have made the very difficult decision to not return to Batwoman next season," said Rose. "This was not a decision I made lightly as I have the utmost respect for the cast, crew and everyone involved with the show in both Vancouver and in Los Angeles. I am beyond appreciative to Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter and Caroline Dries for not only giving me this incredible opportunity, but for welcoming me into the DC universe they have so beautifully created. Thank you Peter Roth and Mark Pedowitz and the teams at Warner Bros. and The CW who put so much into the show and always believed in me. Thank you to everyone who made season one a success — I am truly grateful.”
The CW, Warner Bros. TV and Berlanti Productions said jointly, "Warner Bros. Television, The CW and Berlanti Productions thank Ruby for her contributions to the success of our first season and wish her all the best. The studio and network are firmly committed to Batwoman’s second season and long-term future, and we — along with the show’s talented creative team — look forward to sharing its new direction, including the casting of a new lead actress and member of the LGBTQ community, in the coming months."
Rose faced immediate backlash on social media after she was cast and would eventually quit Twitter, although she remains active on Instagram.
Like dozens of other series, Batwoman was forced to end its season early due to the coronavirus pandemic. The drama finished 20 of a planned 22 episodes, with Sunday's installment serving as the season finale. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that episode was Rose's last with the show, but it's unclear if a transition to a new lead would have been set up in the two episodes that weren't completed.
Rose starred on the series as Kate Kane, a cousin of Bruce Wayne's who takes on the mantle of Batwoman. The character debuted in December 2018 during The CW's annual crossover event for its DC Comics shows before getting her own series. Vampire Diaries veteran Dries created the show and executive produces with Berlanti, his producing partner Schechter and Geoff Johns.
Camrus Johnson, who plays Luke Fox on the series, wrote on Twitter late Tuesday night that "We will work our freakin' butts off to give you an amazing season 2 that continues to represent the LGBTQA+ communities and people of color."