The CW’s Batwoman will never be the same again.
In a major surprise, Ruby Rose announced on Tuesday that she’s not reprising her role as Kate Kane, aka Batwoman, in season 2 of the DC series.
“I have made the very difficult decision to not return to Batwoman next season,” Rose said 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.”
The Australian actress went on to thank series executive producers Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter and Caroline Dries for giving her the “incredible opportunity” to play the iconic role and for welcoming her into the DC universe. She also expressed her gratitude to Warner Bros. TV chairman Peter Roth and The CW president Mark Pedowitz for always believing in her.
Neither Rose nor the producers of the show disclosed the exact reasons behind the actress’ departure. While several people quickly assumed that it has something to do with the stunt injury she sustained while filming season 1 that left her facing paralysis and needing emergency surgery, Deadline reported that Rose’s exit was not related to that incident.
According to Variety, Rose’s decision to step down from the Batwoman role was likely due to the intense commitment to starring in a network series as a lead. Rose’s most extensive TV gig before Batwoman was a recurring role in season 3 of Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black. She only appeared in nine episodes of the comedy-drama, so comparing that to Batwoman’s 20-episode freshman run ― in addition to starring in The CW’s annual Arrowverse crossover events ― it’s easy to see how strenuous the Batwoman role could be for someone who has no previous experience in starring in a network TV series.
Variety wrote: “According to multiple sources, Rose was unhappy with the long hours required of her as the series lead, which led to friction on the set. It was thus decided by her and the network and studio, Warner Bros. Television, that they would part ways.”
This was echoed by another source, pointing out to TVLine that Rose’s departure from the series was not entirely her decision. “It wasn’t 100-percent her decision,” explained the source. “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.”
Fans of the actress, meanwhile, couldn’t help but think that the harsh criticisms that Rose has received on social media since she was cast for the Batwoman role were also one of the reasons that led her to quit the series.
The more I think about this Ruby Rose situation, the more pissed off I get…
— Alex Monroe (@TimeToHunt1) May 20, 2020
Ruby Rose is exiting #Batwoman
As much as I loved her performance in this series, you got to look at the big picture and think why she would leave. Unfortunately, she dealt with a lot of hate towards her. I hope she knows she did such a wonderful job with this season pic.twitter.com/qyxwTeNuA8
— BritSmash (@BritSmash24) May 20, 2020
Ruby Rose has suffered depression and even had a suicide attempt in the past. So I really, really, really hope that the Toxic and just feral behaviour by people on social media, and mainly YouTube/Twitter didn't lead to her leaving the show. Would be a shame… #Batwoman pic.twitter.com/HpE93f2WqK
— ⚡️ Pagey ⚡️ (@Pagmyst) May 19, 2020
I feel bad for Ruby Rose, she was so emotional when she got the role of Batwoman, she gets a pretty bad back injury, and then exits the role… yet I still see people shitting on her, those are the type of people that deserve bad karma. pic.twitter.com/s9evtNd6S7
— Skyler Shuler (@SkylerShuler) May 19, 2020
Despite Rose’s exit, a joint statement from Warner Bros. TV, The CW, and Berlanti Productions made it clear that they all remain committed to the second season of Batwoman.
“Warner Bros. Television, The CW, and Berlanti Productions thank Ruby for her contributions to the success of our first season and wish her all the best,” read the statement. “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.”
Since the show’s sophomore run won’t premiere until January 2021 due to coronavirus-related production shutdown, the producers of the show have enough time for an extensive recasting process.