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The Real Reason Ruby Rose's Batwoman Won't Be Killed Off

On the second season of the CW's Batwoman, Ruby Rose's Kate Kane will be gone, but not forgotten... and, more importantly, not dead.

Rose recently shocked fans with the revelation that she has opted not to return for the hit Arrowverse series' second season. Rather than recast the part, showrunner Caroline Dries will be introducing a new character to take on the mantle of Batwoman — but she would like fans to know that this doesn't mean Kane will be meeting her end.

This may seem like a minor narrative choice, but rest assured that for the LGBTQ+ community, it is anything but. This is because of the existence of a long-standing, troublesome trope in movies an television that has been slapped with a jaw-droppingly blunt moniker by the folks at TV Tropes: "Bury Your Gays."

This trope basically requires that, if one or more characters in your film or TV series is openly gay, it is a given that they will be killed off. Moreover, they will often meet their end in a way that serves to up the dramatic stakes for the main (heteronormative) characters, and in a way that points up their expendability with regard to the rest of the cast.

As the first openly queer character to headline a major superhero TV series, Kate Kane broke new ground. A queer woman herself, Rose was nakedly emotional about the responsibility of bringing Kate to the small screen while doing the promotional rounds after her casting. While the rationale behind her departure remains a bit of a mystery, Rose has expressed her love for the series and the character since the shakeup was announced — and Dries, also an out lesbian, would like to make sure that there is no confusion among fans with respect to how she intends to handle her star's exit.

What did Batwoman's showrunner have to say about Kate Kane's fate?

In a message directed to fans of Batwoman on Twitter, Dries established right out of the gate that she is in no way ignorant of how LGBTQ+ characters' deaths are often used for dramatic effect. "As a lesbian who's been working as a writer for the past 15 years, I'm well aware of the 'Bury Your Gays' trope and I have no interest in participating in it," she wrote. "That's why it's important for me as the showrunner to clarify any misinformation out there about Kate Kane and recasting Batwoman."

Dries went on to imply that, rather than falling back on a tired and homophobic trope, Batwoman's creative team has found a more interesting way to incorporate the curveball of Rose's departure into the series' narrative. "Like you, I love Kate Kane — she's the reason I wanted to do the show. We'll never erase her," Dries wrote. "In fact, her disappearance will be one of the mysteries of season two. I don't want to give away any of our surprises, but to all our devoted fans, please know that LGBTQ+ justice is at the very core of what Batwoman is and we have no intention of abandoning that."

We'd bet that puzzling out what happened to Kane will be a major part of the agenda of the new Batwoman, who is said to be a younger, less disciplined crime-fighter by the name of Ryan Wilder.

Is the new Batwoman going to be based on an existing character?

While there has been plenty of speculation that "Ryan Wilder" is some kind of not-so-crafty code for an existing DC Comics character, this doesn't appear to be the case. During a panel discussion at the recent ATX TV... From the Couch virtual festival, Dries said that the new Batwoman will be a totally original character (via Deadline).

"I'm inventing a whole new character who in her past was inspired by Batwoman, so she will take on the mantle and is completely maybe not the right person at the time to be doing it," Dries said. "So that's what makes it fun."

While Dries did admit to briefly considering the "soap opera" approach of simply recasting her lead, she says it was Arrowverse mastermind Greg Berlanti who ultimately solidified her decision to create a new character to take over the series. "Upon further reflection — and Greg helped me make this call, he is way smarter than me about this sort of stuff — he said, you know, we should just... reboot Batwoman... and also respect everything that Ruby put into the Kate Kane character," Dries explained. "And I just think it helps the audience a little bit too, that we are not asking them to not address the elephant in the room."

That makes perfect sense, and as Dries is obviously invested in Batwoman — and did a bang-up job on the first season — fans have no reason to think she'll fumble the transition. We'll get to see how it all plays out before too terribly long; Batwoman season 2 is expected to premiere on the CW in January 2021.