In a major surprise, it’s just been revealed that Ruby Rose, the star of The CW‘s Batwoman series has quit the title role after just one season. The season finale of the show’s first run finished on Sunday night and though the industry continues to be in turmoil with regards to production schedules because of the coronavirus situation, it was planned that the show – already renewed – would be part of The CW‘s early 2021 line-up.
The television version of character of Kate Kane / Batwoman debuted in the massive Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover of all of The CW‘s comic-based shows before her own show began. The premise was that she was the cousin of Bruce Wayne and five years after he and Batman went missing, she uncovers his dual-role as Gotham’s defender. She then takes up the mantle, dealing with his legacy and her own turbulent past. The initial reviews were mixed, citing that Rose brought with her a distinct confidence and attitude needed but even some sympathetic reviewers didn’t feel she was the best fit. However the show received an early renewal.
Rose revealed her decision in a formal statement on Tuesday: “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.”
The CW, Warner Bros. TV and Berlanti Productions subsequently released an equally tactful joint statement which read: “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. 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.”
That statement makes reference to the scrutiny the show came under form the start, being the first network show to headline an openly non-straight character played by an openly non-straight actress and that element has been an important selling-point. However Rose’s casting was controversial from the start. The character is of Jewish lineage and a lesbian in the comics and a sub-section of fans immediately said that Rose (who had previously appeared in Orange is the new Black and The Meg) was neither Jewish nor a lesbian – somewhat misunderstanding what actors do for a living. Rose had previously described herself as gender-neutral though had also referred to herself as a lesbian since the age of 12. Rose subsequently quit twitter over the comments she received. There were further problems last year when she herniated two discs while performing stunts on the show. She noted on social media that the injury nearly severed her spinal cord and left her in ‘chronic pain’.
The series managed to complete twenty of the twenty-two episodes ordered before shutdown, but it’s been confirmed that Sunday’s pseudo-finale will be the last with Rose in the role. At this point it is not known if Rose’s departure will affect the scheduling of the show’s return, though the pandemic situation has given everyone a bigger window in which to change course and reframe the show.