The showrunner of Batwoman has refuted reports that following Ruby Rose’s departure, the CW series would kill off her character, Kate Kane, in season two.
Caroline Dries said in a statement that while a new character will take on the mantle of Batwoman when the series resumes, Rose’s character, Kate Kane, won’t be dead.
“As a lesbian who’s been working as a writer for the past 15 years, I’m well aware of the ‘Bury Your Gays’ trope and I have no interest in participating in it,” said Dries. “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.”
Dries’ comments come in response to an online report Tuesday that Kate would die in season two.
The “Bury Your Gays” trope has seen “a disproportionate number of LGBT characters killed off, often in the name of propping up and/or advancing a heterosexual leading character’s storyline,” as AfterEllen and Women and Hollywood columnist Dorothy Snarker noted in a column for The Hollywood Reporter in 2016. At the time, The CW was facing a wave of criticism over the way its series The 100 killed off queer character Lexa (played by Alycia Debnam-Carey), which came amid several other LGBTQ+ characters dying on other shows, including AMC’s The Walking Dead and Syfy’s The Magicians.
Batwoman made TV history in the 2019-20 season as the first scripted live-action TV series to feature a lesbian superhero at the top of the call sheet. Rose — who faced backlash on social media after being cast as Kate and eventually quit Twitter, though she’s still active on Instagram — made a surprise announcement two days after the show’s season finale that she wouldn’t be returning for season two.
Dries and fellow executive producer Greg Berlanti made the decision to create a new character rather than recast another actress as Kate. “I just think it helps the audience a little bit that we’re not asking them to address the elephant in the room,” she said during the virtual ATX Television Festival.
The new character, Ryan Wilder, is a former criminal and out lesbian who is “very much not your stereotypical all-American hero,” according to a character description. The show’s producers say they’re committed to casting a member of the LGBTQ+ community in the part.
Batwoman is slated to return to The CW in early 2021. The network is holding all of its returning scripted series for early next year as production is unlikely to resume in time for the full schedule to launch in the fall.