Thursday 4 June 2020

Batwoman moves on

I still haven't finished season one of Batwoman. I've not been gripped by it; the episodes I've seen don't quite seem to know what tone they're going for. It mostly seems to be after the same gritty, semi-realness as Arrow first went for, and that eventually bored me away, but it did lead to the great Arrowverse. Still, it's worth sticking with, I feel, and I'm interested on seeing where things go.

Sadly, it seems the series will have to develop in a different direction to its original plans. After filming for the first season was cut short due to the pandemic, Ruby Rose announced she wouldn't be returning for season two. The reasons behind her decision aren't clear. It has been reported that she has been suffering from a back injury, which would certainly make recording an action series difficult, but she has stated herself that this wasn't the reason. Another report has suggested the long filming hours, combined with filming in Vancouver a long way from her home, made it difficult for her, and also cited friction on set.

I also wonder if Rose is leaving due to all the shit she's received from "fans." There was a ridiculous backlash to her casting as Kate Kane, a character portrayed as lesbian in the Batwoman comics. Some of the more conservative fans kicked off about "virtue signalling," "SJW pandering" and the usual knee-jerk crap purely because of the casting of a queer actor as a queer character. On the other side, the queer fan community had many people objecting because Rose, who identifies as lesbian but also as gender fluid (she uses feminine pronouns). This, apparently, makes her not a real lesbian, and for some, means she shouldn't be playing a lesbian character. Rose was simultaneously too gay and not gay enough.

The shitstorm forced Rose off social media, and I cannot imagine this didn't have something to do with her leaving the show. Why would she want to continue after that reception?

It was announced yesterday that the showrunners are looking to replace Kate Kane with a new character, rather than recast her and carry on. This is understandable, since DC has a long and storied history of legacy heroes whose titles are passed on (Batwoman has been portrayed by two characters, although with almost identical names). On the other hand, the series is so entrenched in Kane's relationship with her sister (the villainous Alice) and cousin (Batman, Bruce Wayne), that reworking it for a new character seems destructive. Given all the sci-fi gubbins in the Arrowverse, it wouldn't have been too difficult to find a way to make recasting work.

The new Batwoman has been described as an LGBT woman in her mid-twenties, currently named Ryan Wilder, although it's also been suggested that this is just a placeholder name. (This might even indicate a recognisable character from the DC universe is being repurposed as Batwoman). Brooklyn Nine-Nine's Stephanie Beatriz has expressed interest in the role, and I could absolutely see her as Batwoman, although at thirty-nine she's a good deal older than the character description. (Although she is a mere five years older than Rose.)

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