In news that is both shocking and yet perfectly understandable at the same time, Ruby Rose has decided to exit Batwoman after one season, forcing the CW to recast the title role ahead of its second season.
It’s unclear whether the CW will recast the role of Kate Kane, or whether Batwoman will be a new character, but the network indicated that the new actress will be a member of the LGBTQ community. It also remains unclear why, exactly, Rose is parting ways with the series, but we’ll get into several theories below. Here’s her statement, per Variety:
“I have made the very difficult decision to not return to Batwoman next season. 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.”
“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,” said Warner Bros. TV, the CW and Berlanti Productions in a joint statement. “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.”
This is the first major recasting in the CW’s Arrowverse as far as I’m aware of, but either way, it’s a huge deal to recast the lead of any TV show. I mean, this is some Bewitched shit! My initial read on this news, which none of my colleagues agreed with, mind you, is that you’re going to be seeing more of this, as it’s my personal belief that a lot of rich actors just won’t be all that eager to return to work. Sure, there are giant paychecks waiting for them, but if you were already a millionaire, would you be in a rush to get to set and be surrounded by hundreds of people, even with whatever safety precautions are instituted as a result of the pandemic? Personally, I would sit tight in my Hollywood Hills enclave and see how things go.
There are plenty of other theories. At the top of the list was the quality of Rose’s performance. Some fans didn’t like it. Others did. Maybe network executives or the show’s producers felt it just wasn’t working. Was Rose pressured to leave and allowed to make it look like it was her decision, or was she simply tired of the long hours on set and the harsh glare of fans on social media? CW shows can be tough shoots given the demanding pace, and while most CW actors are young and excited by the busy workload, Rose did very little press for Batwoman and even blew off last year’s Comic-Con. Maybe she just wasn’t into it to the extent everyone wanted her to be?
Finally, the trades are saying that Rose’s exit is not related to the injury she sustained while performing a stunt during Season 1 that left her facing paralysis and needing emergency surgery. However, if that was you, would you be in a rush to put yourself back in that position after being given daily reminders of just how precious life is, and how it can be taken away without notice? Under normal circumstances, I might be eager to return to work, but these aren’t normal circumstances.
I suspect the truth will come out in time.