Katy Keene is kaput. (Although a vampire show written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa on ABC would’ve been terrible, I’m more upset by The Brides not getting picked up because it deprives Gina Torres & Erin Richards of showing off their fangs.) They should’ve made Josie & The Pussycats (In Outer Space) with Keene as their supporting stylist instead! At least it won’t be confusing with the CW simultaneously airing series starring Katy Keene & Kate Kane anymore… Oh yeah, this article is about me overthinking exactly how Batwoman season two is doomed.
Batwoman showrunner committed to bad idea. Caroline Dries derisively referred to recasting Kate Kane with a “soap opera version,” somehow not noticing that Batwoman was already a soap opera about the Kane family. “Ryan Wilder” could be a great addition to the cast, but it makes no sense to remove the core of every relationship on the series. If they ignore her already being a minor part of the Beeboverse, they could’ve gotten all the criteria with Bex Taylor-Klaus standing on a crate! Since Alice already has the implausible skill of grafting perfect faces made from scraps, the series even has the real in-story excuse to change Kate’s appearance! Not drawing attention to the new actress would probably be better, but they definitely had potential to weave a story out of the recasting. Meanwhile Bruce Wayne gets recast constantly!
There were many people underwhelmed by Ruby Rose, but the majority of fans that stuck with the series wanted to keep Kate Kane. The ones that didn’t already quit watching & had harebrained expectations that it’d be retooled into a Batman show starring Bruce Wayne. Bringing in a new star who may or may not be a canon character is a risky move with almost zero initial support within the fandom.
Javicia Leslie is Ryan Wilder. Did anyone have her in the betting pool? This is a great career move, but I already feel sorry for all the scrutiny she’ll be under. She’s going to get all the blame if this isn’t a rousing success. Ms. Leslie identifies as bisexual, which has already disappointed those expecting a lesbian actress to be cast as a lesbian character.
I’ll be brainstorming ways hobo Batwoman could backfire based on the brief casting description. Nothing says Wilder couldn’t also be Jewish (Passover guest appearance by Ragman?), but I’m guessing she won’t be to differentiate her from Kate who was already “likable, messy, a little goofy and untamed.” (I wish season one had spent more time showing how her responsibility as a grim superheroine clashed with her fun-loving personality rather than constantly pouring family trauma onto her.) If Kate was rebellious for not doing things the Bruce Wayne way, how much more untamed can Wilder be without becoming a liability?
Wilder’s being a former drug runner & addict sound even more problematic now that a black actress has been cast. While people with such backstories don’t often see themselves represented as heroes, it is worrisome how it’ll come across given how Batwoman’s writers have fumbled with less delicate issues. Making a headlining black superheroine a criminal sounds like it could be in poor taste without verisimilitude to support it. I doubt it’ll have the nuanced insight into race of Black Lightning & Watchmen. Arrow & Black Lightning have had characters struggle with addiction, so this isn’t a unique character hook either unless it’s a gambling. It’s probably not cutting as even Mr. Zsasz had to ease up on the self-mutilation for live action adaptations. Nah, her “bad habits” are totally going to be cage fighting like Mia Smoak.
Regardless of how armored it is, you’re going to die if you put on the batsuit without a specific set of skills. Will we have to sit through a prolonged arc where Wilder learns how to do everything Kate already did? Season one undercut Kate by having her make sloppy mistakes to stretch out conflicts someone with her training could’ve easily bested. (I’m still mad about the wig not being detachable!) Will Wilder’s lack of training make the rookie incompetence seem more natural or will the writers go the opposite route of making her a prodigy? Are we supposed to believe someone living in van by the river for free parking is also a mistress of the martial arts? Did she win a League of Assassins scholarship like Sara Lance?
There’s a chance this is high profile enough that DC will rush to introduce a black Batwoman in time for the new season, which will no doubt result in the two Ryan Wilders being vastly different. (DC introduced John Diggle only for TV to reveal he’s really John Stewart.) “Ryan Wilder” (no relation to Alex Wilder of The Runaways) could be a decoy name for a canon character like Carrie Kelly, Stephanie Brown, Harper Row, or Holly Robinson. This new Batwoman is “a girl who would steal milk for an alley cat and could also kill you with her bare hands.” Is “Ryan Wilder” going to dramatically reveal her real name is Selina Kyle? She talks to her plants, so she could also be
Lillian Rose Pamela Isley Ivy Pepper Poison Ivy.
Replacing a mantle with a new inheritor can be a great way to reinvigorate a tired formula. The issue here is that Kate Kane, at least as presented on TV, is already the refresher for Bruce Wayne. She has yet to establish herself as an institution to shake up, especially as season one’s arcs were interrupted. This feels more like a season four plot point. Now audiences have to sit the through process of another Batwoman beginning. In the comics you can completely toss out the old status quo, as in Kyle Rayner’s Green Lantern. This is much harder on television when the rest of the cast are paid employees under contract rather than purely fictional beings. Integrating Wilder is going to be extra awkward since the rest of the series still revolves around Kate. If she’d already been part of the show like Wally West, this torch passing would be much more organic.
If they wanted a black Batwoman, why not give Sophie Moore the mantle? She’s right there! Meagan Tandy could flourish in an expanded role. Sophie already has connections to Kate’s friends & family. Her becoming Batwoman while he original is indisposed could be her delayed way of making amends to Kate for her betrayal at
West Point Point Rock. Impostor syndrome from being recently un-closeted & taking up her ex’s role would be a good character arc. Her military & Crows training gives her skills comparable to Batwoman so there would be less of a learning curve. Since Jacob Kane already treats her a surrogate daughter, there would still be personal tension betwixt her job & her vigilantism. (Now would also be a great time for Sophie to resign from Crows, which may be even more corrupt & fascist than the GCPD … who are getting their own HBO Max series in this climate?) Why would Jacob be conflicted about stopping Batwoman if he discovers she’s some rando?
Dries eased fan concerns that that she’d be killing Kate Kane. If Ruby Rose isn’t returning & they refuse to recast, however, Kate Kane will be Schrödinger’s Batwoman. They won’t be able to resolve her arcs, making her effectively if not literally dead. Kate was growing into role as Gotham City’s protector, so it doesn’t make sense she’d abandon the city like her cousin at this point. I can’t see her prioritizing Bruce’s whereabouts over strengthening ties to her formerly estranged family & friends. (Goodbye to the blossoming Kate Kane/Kara Danvers friendship!) If she’s kidnapped by Safiyah Sohail, are we not going to see her escape? Since Kate has a seat at The Hall of Justice, why wouldn’t her super-friends mobilize to rescue her? (What’ll be the in-story rationale for Superman teaming up with a Batwoman he doesn’t know in their forthcoming crossover?) Ryan Wilder could be stalling tactic to find the perfect Kate Kane replacement (It’s not like they’re casting a unicorn!) in case fans don’t take to her, but that’d utterly screw over Javicia Leslie.
As the murderer of Wilder’s mom, Scarecrow will be making his Beeboverse debut. Scarecrow can be a fascinating character if you view his patented fear toxin as an extension of himself. He’s the platonic ideal of the bullied becoming the bully. Batwoman’s first season has already utilized his fear gas for hallucinations (as did Elseworlds) & established he’d already attacked the city’s public transportation. Brother Blood & Vertigo also had some of his aspects, so there’s even less ground to cover with him. It feels like they put the cart before the horse when gimmicky Scarecrow is already at high risk for villain decay. Alice is the only villain with any personality or menace, so I doubt Dr. Jonathan Crane will be properly fearsome.
Now that I’ve ranted through all that, my eventual review of Batwoman season two can be much shorter. It’ll either be “They subverted all my negative expectations for the better!” or “It was handled exactly as poorly as I foresaw!” Batwoman became my least favorite Beeboverse series thanks to its weak writing. It had an uphill battle to keep me watching even before this calamity. Is it even going to fun to watch as a train wreck?
I found a new cape for my custom Ra’s al Ghul! Now he really looks like the Gotham version! This cloak comes from NECA’s movie Shredder. It’s one of the best softgoods capes I’ve ever seen thanks to its metallic print, pleats, metal clasps, & reinforcement for the Shredhead’s pointy pauldrons. Too bad it doesn’t also have a Dracula collar. The problem is, much like Kimberly Hart heads, these don’t grow on trees. Who should get custody of this cape? Should I repaint my cape based off this pattern (If only I had sufficient reference for tiger stripes before!), or keep the expressionistic fire veins I ended up with? What say you, denizens of of The Interwuzzle?