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The Real Reason Ruby Rose Quit Batwoman

Fans of the CW's Batwoman will be disappointed to learn that Ruby Rose has bowed out of the title role of Kate Kane unexpectedly

The parting from the show appears to be perfectly amicable, as Rose's announcement includes a long thank-you to her director and producers for the opportunity. Nonetheless, she seems to feel walking away is best for her future. 

"I have made the very difficult decision to not return to Batwoman next season," Rose wrote in a statement. "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."

It's not as though the show has performed poorly — Batwoman's premiere season punched in a comparable weight class to more established shows in the cable network's Arrowverse lineup to be the network's third-most watched program last year. Why exit so suddenly, when everything seems to be going just the way any television actor would want? Let's dig into some of the possibilities as to why Ruby Rose has opted to leave her role as Kate Kane on Batwoman.

An erstwhile injury on the Batwoman set could have cast doubt

Back in the summer of 2019, Rose had to have emergency surgery due to herniated discs in her spine that threatened to paralyze her. The injury was sustained at some point during the filming of Batwoman's first season, and over time as Rose began to experience numbness in her extremities, realization set in that the injury might be much more serious than at first believed. She didn't reveal this fact until that September, well after the surgery, and as far as anyone is publicly aware, she has indeed recovered just fine from her injury. Variety reports an anonymous source that claims Rose departing the role has nothing to do with her health, but it's difficult to say exactly what that means.

She probably is perfectly healthy now, since doctors intervened before the injury could become permanent, but it may have affected her strength and flexibility in a way that couldn't be recovered in time for filming, or perhaps the long-term viability for whatever reparative measures were taken in surgery, either tissue or medical hardware, are a factor. It's not necessarily that she's unhealthy, but there could be uncertainty enough around how safe it is to continue working such a stunt-heavy role after a spine injury, even a healed one, because of increased risk. It's also entirely possible that the injury has simply brought Rose to second-guess her dedication to the role. Anyone would question how willing they are to continue working anywhere after getting so seriously hurt on-site, even when there's no one at fault.

Ruby Rose could have any number of personal reasons for quitting Batwoman (and that's okay)

The aforementioned network-wide delay of new content on the CW, alternatively, may have provided Rose an opportunity she may have been looking for. In an interview with Glamour in September 2019, shortly before the revelation of her spinal injury, Rose confessed to feeling homesick for her native Australia, and that she had an interest in pursuing future roles closer to home.

Television work in America necessitates keeping a part-time home in LA and living there at least during the filming season, though it's beneficial to remain during all the required press tours as well. When you consider that TV pre-production and filming can take up almost half the year on its own and that Australia is thousands of miles away, it would be extraordinarily difficult to spend much time Aussie-side while playing a principal role in a sprawling superhero television franchise like the Arrowverse. She has also been open about past struggles with her mental health, so it's understandable that being closer to home might feel most beneficial.

Television is a long-term commitment — many actors avoid it specifically because it takes up so much time that it prevents one from being open to other opportunities years at a time. Even for TV leads that take other projects, like Rose's fellow DC star Melissa Benoist did when she appeared on Waco, it takes precise timing and a whole lot of luck to be sure the schedules align. When actors sign on for a pilot or a spin-off, there's no guarantee they'll see that second season, and perhaps when Rose signed up for Batwoman, everything felt rosier to her personally than it does now. She's allowed to change her mind and decide to walk away, especially in circumstances so unprecedented that a whole television network has shifted its release schedule. 

Rose has no publicly-announced project that she's gravitating towards instead — not that she would need to have one. Wherever she shows up next, we'll certainly be excited to see her again.

Reports suggest a poor fit between Ruby Rose and Batwoman

The Hollywood whisper mill never rests, and more news has leaked about what might have lead to Rose splitting from the series. Michael Ausiello of TVLine has learned from apparently multiple sources that Rose's departure was the outcome of what might have been a bad fit for the actress and studio alike. 

"It wasn't 100-percent her decision," an anonymous source close to the show told Ausiello. "It was a breakup. She wasn't happy working on the show, and did that make her fun to work with? No. So everyone decided it would be in the best interests of the show, and for all concerned, if they parted ways. It just wasn't a good fit."

It sounds as though, of the two probabilities previously discussed, it might be the aforementioned distance from home wearing too severely on Rose, impacting her performance in the role. TVLine also reported that Rose had in fact moved to Vancouver for filming the show and hadn't been adjusting well — it's hard to get much further away from Australia than Canada. And again, the extra time allotted by the overall delay of Batwoman season 2 almost certainly made this decision feel like the proper time to break everything off, rather than struggle through a second season's production with a lead who isn't really all that happy to be there.

Plans to replace Ruby Rose as Batwoman

Surprising and upsetting though Rose's departure from the series might be, with the recent announcement from the CW itself that it would be delaying virtually all 2020-2021 season premieres until January, at least Batwoman's producers will have plenty of extra time to seek out a new lead. And that's exactly what they intend to do. 

Batwoman will indeed live on with another actress in the title role. Lending further comfort to fans, the press release confirming Rose's Batwoman exit also included a reassurance that the network is dedicated to finding another LGBTQ actress to fill the role of the canonically lesbian hero: "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."

There's been no official word of who might take on the Batwoman mantle in Rose's place, but that hasn't stopped fans from throwing their suggestions out there for the world to hear. Names like Evan Rachel Wood (of Westworld fame), Phoebe Tonkin (from The Originals), Jane Levy (known for her work in Evil Dead and Don't Breathe) have been bandied about online. Even Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Stephanie Beatriz has said she's keen to scoop the role of Kate Kane from Rose.

For now, the gig could go to pretty much any actress who's a member of the LGBTQ community — even if they haven't publicly announced their sexuality just yet.