The bad news for Batwoman fans keeps coming. Hot off the heels of the report that Kate Kane will be replaced being confirmed by showrunner Caroline Dries, a new and very troubling report emerged. In our last post, we speculated about the only rationale for not recasting Kate Kane. It might leave the door open for Ruby Rose to return at some point. Yet, a new rumor from Daniel Richtman (who has a spotty-at-best track record) says the plan is to kill Kate Kane off in Batwoman season 2. There are a lot of reasons this is a bad idea, especially breaking the news during PRIDE month.
Here’s what we know: Richtman says that the classic Batman villain Scarecrow will rear his masked head in Gotham during the second season. This character will reportedly be responsible for the death of new character Ryan Wilder’s mother, thus inspiring her to take up the mantle of the vigilante. Wilder will reportedly steal the Batwoman suit, because the plan for season 2 is to kill off the character of Kate Kane in some unknown fashion. The logic behind this move boggles the minds of even the show’s staunchest defenders (including your humble correspondent).
This utterly ridiculous idea hearkens back to an earlier controversy surrounding lesbian characters on network television. Known as “bury your gays,” it highlights how so many lesbian characters ended up killed off in series for no discernably good reason.
What Does it Mean to Bury Your Gays and How It Relates to the Decision to Kill Off Kate Kane In Batwoman?
The 100 Image via CW
The term “bury your gays” gained popularity on social media in 2016, after an analysis revealed that 25 lesbian characters died in network television shows, according to GLAAD’s annual TV analysis. That year, LGBTQ+ characters appeared on television in record numbers. However, the trend to kill off these characters, specifically lesbians, was a big red flag. Now, to be fair, in most cases these characters lacked agency. They died to advance the narratives of other characters, often straight and/or cis-gendered. The trend continued even after GLAAD gave this issue national attention.
Kate Kane was the first-ever out-lesbian superhero lead in a live-action television series. Killing her off-screen is as ignominious end as she could get. Ruby Rose, the character, and her fans all deserve better from Caroline Dries and the rest of the producers. That this news came out during the first PRIDE Month since the series’ debut is an insult added on top of an injury. The decision to kill off Kate Kane for Batwoman season 2 is just a bad one, especially given how much of the series is about characters’ relationships to her.
Again, in fairness, the new Batwoman will also be a lesbian and could be a character of color. Vanessa Morgan of Riverdale fame is rumored to be in the lead for the role, but that’s not official. Still, this does feel as if the show’s producers are playing diversity BINGO and taking the least creative path to moving Kate Kane out of the way. Hopefully there is more to this story that we just aren’t seeing.
Even If Kate Kane ‘Dies’ She Could Come Back, Because…Comic Book Stories
Image via DC Comics
The management of Ruby Rose’s exit from Batwoman has been, in a word, abysmal. Fans still argue about whether or not Rose left willingly. The hashtag #KateKaneISBatwoman is full of people criticizing the show. And these are not the “fans” responsible for the early backlash or review-bombing Rotten Tomatoes. These are fans who were all-in on the concept and the cast angry about the whole thing. The producers are in something of a no-win scenario, but they seem to be actively fumbling their response in a way that alienates those who truly loved what Batwoman was during its first season.
Still, this is a comic book story. One of the central plot points is that one of the villains can change people’s faces. They could just recast Kate Kane and have Rachel Skarsten’s Alice “give her a new face” as an evil plan. Similarly, the death of Batwoman could be a part of a strategy building to this as a “surprise” reveal. However, given how the publicity following Rose’s departure has been handled, they may end up alienating fans permanently before they get the chance to pay off the storyline.
We live in the Golden Age of live-action comic book storytelling. And, any fan of the show should give the producers a chance to deliver a good story. Still, the news we’re getting lately makes even us die-hards very worried about the future of the show.
What do you think? Is it a good idea to kill off Kate Kane in Batwoman season 2? Do you think it will help or hurt the viewing audience for the show? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
UPDATE: Caroline Dries responds to this rumor
A note from me on behalf of The Bat Team… pic.twitter.com/V6iXjaCrA5
— Caroline Dries (@carolinedries) June 10, 2020
Dries responded to the controversy in a tweet. She writes:
“As a lesbian who’s been working as a writer for the past fifteen years, I’m well aware of the “Bury Your Gays” trope, and I have no interest in participating in it. That’s why it’s important to me as the showrunner to clarify any misinformation out there about Kate Kane and recasting Batwoman. Like you, I love Kate Kane — she’s the rason I wanted to do this show. We’ll never erase her. 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.”
It’s great news that Kate Kane will not be killed off, however with Bruce Wayne already mysteriously missing adding Kate Kane to the “mysteriously missing” club is not all that exciting. Still, let’s give the writers and storytellers a chance to make lemonade out of the lemons they were handed.
Featured image via CW
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.