Goodbye, Ruby Rose...
Before you panic and freak out and add that to the stress that the current pandemic has already given all of us, I’m here to assure you that the goodbye that I am referring to is not the titular, iconic character but the actress playing the role, Ruby Rose.
In an unexpected turn of events, the actress announced that she is dropping out of the role even before work on Season 2 has begun.
The Australian actress, model and DJ whose casting came on the heels of the success of her work on the Emmy and Screen Actors Guild-winning show, Orange Is the New Black says that her decision did not come easy and that she has the utmost respect for the cast, crew, and everyone involved in the show both in 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. Although the actress did not give a definitive reason for her departure, some sources say that it has nothing to do with the injuries that she has suffered on the set while filming the stunt-heavy hit show, of which she also discussed on late-night TV during a guesting on The Jimmy Fallon Show. Other sources, on the other hand, say that the reason is due to the current feedback that the show is getting and that Ruby herself was unhappy with her job and this proved to be too much for her to keep going for another season. But up until the actress says anything, the speculation for the real reason will surely continue.
In a joint statement from Berlanti productions and WBTV, the producers said that the role will be recast for the second season and will also feature an LGBTQ Actress in the title role. This decision to look for an actress who is equally out and proud like Ruby will be another boost for the rainbow community.
Just this January, Batwoman was renewed for a 2nd season alongside other shows in the Arrowverse like The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, and Black Lightning. Early in the week the show just wrapped its first season airing only a total of 20 episodes, two episodes short of the ordered 22 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now while this recasting of an important character is no surprise to network TV, the re-casting of one in a title role and in so early of it’s run is nothing short of shocking. Another CW show, Dynasty, which is a remake of the 80’s original, has actually re-casted the same character of Cristal, three times in the 3 seasons that it has been on the air.
In any case, the same original incarnation of the show has also done some revolving-door changes in the course of its 9-season run. Take, for example, the character of Steven Carrington, the gay son of oil magnate, Blake Carrington. Steven was originally played by actor and one-time singer, Al Corley for the first two seasons. His recasting comes from the Season 3 storyline that had Steven in an oil rig accident and required him to undergo plastic surgery to repair his face. Enter Jack Coleman who played the character till the end of the series in 1989 and is best known as Noah Bennett in the 2006 hit sci-fi series, Heroes.
The second character who got changed was another Carrington. This time, Steven's sister Fallon originally played by Pamela Sue Martin, best known on TV as the original Nancy Drew. She played the feisty and spoiled Carrington sibling up until the end of the fourth season. Her character was presumed "dead" until Emma Sams came on for the fifth season to take the role. She brought in more heart and compassion to a character who most viewers (me included) felt shallow and unsympathetic.
So when you think about it, recasting in Hollywood but more so on TV is not as uncommon as the casual viewer may feel. And it's the combined feeling of abandonment and betrayal that viewers will always feel whenever a favorite character is replaced by another actor during the run, especially when the said character has gotten their audience to relate to him or her emotionally and bring out their sense of empathy.
I'm not saying that the first season of Batwoman was stellar and perfect. In fact, I've spoken to fellow Geeks who say the same thing. From the stature of the actress to begin with, to plot details, pacing, costume, and fight scenes, there is so much to criticize if you want to. Any show, superhero, or not can be nitpicked. Kate Kane is no exception.
But in spite of this setback, we also need to give credit where it's due.
Batwoman is the first mainstream LGBTQ representation in a lead role that the community currently has on primetime TV that is both a hero and a role model for young girls who are seeking to give a face to their own struggle. Of course, on the other Earth, or show for that matter, there is also Alex Danvers, sister to Supergirl's Kara Danvers who struggled with her own identity in previous seasons. While the actress, Chyler Leigh is happily married to actor Nathan West, I must say her coming out arc was handled and written well and reflected any gay man or woman's struggle for self-acceptance and identity. And with Greg Berlanti at the helm who is also openly gay, LGBTQ can expect more representation in future episodes of the Arrowverse.
Till the new Kate Kane is cast and announced, fans can relish the work that Ruby Rose has put into the character. And better yet come August, we can relive her run all over again as Batwoman Season 1 is released both on DVD and Blu-Ray and will include all 5 episodes of the recent Arrowverse crossover, the epic Crisis on Infinite Earths.