Orange Is The New Black actress Ruby Rose has been announced to play Kate Kane, aka Batwoman in a new television series that The CW is developing for the 2019/2020 season. The character will actually debut this December in the now-annual crossover between The CW‘s DC superhero shows (Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl), though the episode itself will not be the traditional ‘backdoor pilot’ often used to establish characters’ origin stories – that will likely come in a feature-length opener to her own series.
“This is a childhood dream,” the 32-year-old Australian-born actor said in a statement. “This is something I would have died to have seen on TV when I was a young member of the LGBT community who never felt represented on TV and felt alone and different. Thank you everyone. Thank you god.” A well as Orange is the New Black, Rose has starred in Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, John Wick 2 and will be seen later this month in shark-attack fun The Meg. Opinion on the casting has been mixed but many have applauded having a gay superhero lead as well as that lead being played by a gay actor.
Though various shows have long had LGBTQ supporting characters, Batwoman will be the first openly gay superhero to headline a tv series, reflecting the character’s sexuality as established in the existing comics-continuity. Ironically, the character’s first appearance dates back to 1954 when the character was introduced as a ‘romantic interest’ for Batman at a time when Batman’s sexuality was being questioned to the level of Senate hearings about the effects comics were allegedly having on ‘juvenile delinquency’. The famous ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths‘ event across DC’s line in 1985 rewrote a lot of the comics history and Batwoman was wiped from continuity. In 2005’s ‘52‘ event and the subsequent Infinite Crisis, the character was brought back. However, in the modern era she was established as a gay Jewish woman whose day job was as lawyer and a crusader for ‘social justice’. At night, she takes her more physical street-fighting abilities t the streets to fight crime more directly. For a while Kate Kane was involved with Gotham detective Maggie Sawyer, to the extent that the comics toyed with the idea of having them married, even showing her propose. The idea was controversially nixed, though the comics’ writers making it clear they were not happy with the last-minute change and remit that it should not happen. They resigned their creative roles over the changes, though DC said it had nothing to do with the gay side of the equation, simply that ‘heroes shouldn’t have happy personal lives‘. This could be why the much-touted Batman/Catwoman wedding touted for this year failed to materialise as well – though the tease boosted comic sales in the short term.
Should a full Batwoman series be picked up for next year, don’t expect Batman to be making any appearances in that or other CW/DC shows just yet. Supergirl may have featured Superman in her own show, but The CW president Mark Pedowitz has said there are no current plans to feature the caped crusader anywhere in their regular multiverse.