MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Cast in Batwoman: They’re Just Trolling the Haters Now

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BY October 5, 2019

After the first Batwoman trailer faced backlash, many folks wondered if Batwoman can survive the fan-hate it received. At the core of the anger towards the show were bad-faith accusations of misandry, because star Ruby Rose’s Kate Kane said the batsuit would be perfect “when it fits a woman.” Now, any new project related to the bat-family meets some sort of fan resistance, just ask new Batman Robert Pattinson. Yet, in their latest casting move, the producers seem to be trolling their trolls. Liberal opinion journalist on MSNBC Rachel Maddow is cast in Batwoman as a character from the Batman comics. This is not the first time Maddow has acted in a scripted series, but it will be the first time she plays anyone other than herself.

Why Cast Rachel Maddow at All?

Rachel Maddow Cast in Batwoman Rachel Maddow Talk Image by JD Lascia via Flickr

Rachel Maddow is a longtime broadcaster and political journalist who gained national recognition with her radio show on the now-defunct Air America network. She began to appear on MSNBC during the George W. Bush years as a frequent guest on Keith Olbermann’s now-defunct MSNBC flagship show Countdown. Eventually, she won her own series on the network where she reports on stories that she cares about. Unlike some journalists, Maddow does not remain objective in all things. She has a clear political bent (which is not, in and of itself a bad thing). She’s gained a reputation for slow-burn reporting, often taking a full 15-minutes or more to walk through stories. She’s also a passionate supporter of military veterans, featuring many on her program to highlight veteran issues. She also wrote a book called Drift about the struggles soldiers face returning home from war.

Kate Kane is also a veteran, whose skills learned in the military are the basis for her skills as Batwoman. Maddow has an affection for the character, perhaps for that reason and because of LGBT+ representation in comic books. She also wrote the forward for a Batwoman trade hardcover, celebrating what an out lesbian superhero would have meant to Maddow growing up. Maddow previous appeared in a number of scripted, fictional series, but always as herself. This will be the first time she’ll portray a character. She doesn’t appear to be slated to appear in person (yet), but will simply do voiceover work as Vesper Fairchild. The radio commentator character will have Strong Opinions™ about a female vigilante at work in Gotham.

As showrunner Caroline Dries said about the decision to cast Rachel Maddow in Batwoman to The Hollywood Reporter:

“We consider Vesper Fairchild to be the sardonic Voice of Gotham…. In addition to Rachel’s interest in Batwoman, we thought she’d be the perfect casting choice because her own hard-hitting journalism wildly contrasts Vesper’s penchant for snark, gossip and criticism of female superheroes.”

Who is Vesper Fairchild and What Does She Have to Do With the Bat-Family?

Rachel Maddow Cast in Batwoman Who Is Vesper Fairchild Image via DC

Vesper Fairchild is one of the many women who’ve had relationships in the comics with Bruce Wayne. In fact, before the last continuity reboot, Fairchild ended up murdered in Wayne Manor, and Bruce Wayne was the prime suspect. In the Arrowverse, Fairchild has been mentioned before. During the Elseworlds crossover event last year, Fairchild supposedly had an intimate relationship with Oliver Queen. Since this version of Fairchild has a penchant for billionaire playboys (who double as vigilantes), she may also have been involved with Bruce Wayne. In Batwoman, Kane is Wayne’s cousin and he’s been missing for some time. (This is, of course, because the real-world rights to the character don’t allow Batman to appear in the show at all.)

It seems that for the first season, at least, Fairchild will merely be a voice in a speaker, criticizing Kane’s burgeoning vigilante efforts. However, it seems unlikely that Maddow will never appear on-screen as the character. Of course, logistics would be an issue. Batwoman films in Vancouver, while Maddow’s nightly show films in New York. Still, they take time off and guest hosts fill in periodically. So, Maddow could make a trip up to the set. It’s unclear if Fairchild will have a similar affection for Ruby Rose’s Kate Kane. The Arrowverse already features two bisexual heroes, Caity Lotz’s Sarah Lance (AKA the White Canary) and Matt Ryan’s John Constantine.

While this seems like a very small role, that they cast Rachel Maddow in Batwoman at all seems to be a deliberate taunt to the show’s haters. Those who have a problem with Batwoman also likely have a problem with Maddow.

What do you think of the decision to cast Rachel Maddow in Batwoman? Tell us in the comments below!

Featured image via screengrab

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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.

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