'Batwoman' Cast & EPs Introduce Ryan Wilder & Tease Season 2 Kate Mystery
There are two major stories heading into Season 2 of one of the newer Arrowverse series on the CW, and both concern Batwoman — but two different characters.
Between seasons, Ruby Rose, who played Kate Kane and the titular masked hero, left Batwoman, and rather than recast the role, the producers decided to bring in a new character, Ryan Wilder, played by Javicia Leslie. And that changes everything for the show, its characters, and the world of Gotham.
Read on for scoop from series stars Leslie, Rachel Skarsten (Alice), Meagan Tandy (Sophie), Camrus Johnson (Luke), and Nicole Kang (Mary) and executive producers Caroline Dries and Sarah Schechter on Season 2 from the DC FanDome panel on Saturday, September 12.
Meet Ryan Wilder
"Ryan is a new character to the world of DC, and she has a lot going against her. She was a girl who was a statistic of injustice the moment she was born and the system was not built for this person and she will constantly battle against the system," Dries says. "She's battled through it her whole life and she will continue to battle against it as Batwoman."
For Leslie (whose manager told her she got the role by greeting her on the phone with, "Hi, may I speak to Ryan Wilder, please?"), she knew she had to play the character because "it was definitely me," she says. (According to Dries, the actress "brings everything – intellect, emotion, heart, athleticism, everything you want in your hero.") " I loved the idea that it's goofy meets badass meets a person that doesn't like to be told what to do, a person that does not like to follow the rules," Leslie continues. "I love the fact that Ryan is just who I am, just a hot mess."
Leslie also loves the action part of the role. "This has literally been my dream," she reveals, noting that she'd shared in an interview in May that she wanted to be a Black superhero. "I love that I get to kick ass." Furthermore, she's "honored" as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, "to be a part of a community and play a character of a community. It feels really powerful. With everything that's going on right now, this is what we need. We need to see representation."
Speaking of the community, Ryan will be looking to help the one that she's part of, the one that's "been neglected by the system," Leslie previews. "You're going to see that community of Gotham that got overlooked [by the hospital and Crows]," like Mary's patients in the clinic.
Part of Ryan's journey will be a storyline similar to Kate's coming out arc as Batwoman in Season 1. According to Dries, they're making sure "Ryan isn't hiding what makes her awesome with the suit, so it's going to be a little bit of an evolution," as the suit changes early in the season. "Ryan is like, 'for me to feel empowered in this thing, it needs to feel like I'm representing something that I'm fighting for.'"
What Happened to Kate?
That's the other major story for the season. "Where's Kate? What happened to Kate? Is she alive? Is she dead?" Dries asks. "Is she missing? Is she on the run? Is she held captive? Is she lost? These are all huge mysteries that push us deep into the season. All of our characters are going to have different perspectives on that, different conspiracy theories, different points of view, and it will create a lot of drama, tension, mystery, intrigue, and it will be shocking and awesome and amazing."
The Effects of Introducing Ryan to the Other Characters
Considering her character's story at the end of Season 1 was all about killing her twin, Kate, "I think Alice is just going to be peeved," Skarsten admits. "Here she has this beautiful intricate plan for the demise of her sister and that will have been foiled." Still, she'll have enough on her plate with the introduction of Safiyah. That "will be intriguing just because this is a backstory of Alice that we haven't had the opportunity to see before," she teases.
For Luke, Johnson notes that his character doesn't find it easy to trust others. "It took him so long to trust Batman's cousin so now that she's gone and we have this new person — obviously he's always down for someone to keep Gotham safe, that's what he cares most about, is keeping Gotham safe — but at the end of the day, Ryan to Luke is someone from the streets," he explains. "To suddenly give this precious Batsuit to this new person is going to be really hard for him. He's going to be down to work with her, but I think there's always going to be a bit of pushback."
Mary will be dealing with her sister's disappearance, but she and Ryan will have something in common: looking for community. Kang's also excited to explore the relationship between Mary and Alice because "without Kate actively in that [sister] triangle … anything can happen."
Sophie will "have a lot on her plate," Tandy teases. "There's going to be a lot that's going to fall upon her, things that she's going to have to process and deal with and figure out." But with the introduction of a new Batwoman, "she's going to really understand the importance of why Batwoman has to stay secretive and she's going to appreciate that. … She's going to want her to stay masked." Dries also reveals we'll see a bit more "edge" to Sophie, thanks to Ryan and Batwoman pulling her "out of her shell."
And there's also a bright light for the Kane family with the introduction of Ryan Wilder, Dries shares. "There's going to be this swirl of emotions surrounding Kate's disappearance and obviously Jacob doesn't like vigilantes," but "I think Ryan will ironically ultimately unite the Kane family, whether or not they realize it. There are all of these strands of connection that she brings to them that allows them to continue interacting and having changing dynamics."
Batwoman, Season 2, January 2021, The CW