Batwoman season 2: How Ryan Wilder can carry on Kate Kane’s legacy – and carve out her own

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - OCTOBER 29: Actress Javicia Leslie visits Hallmark's "Home & Family"at Universal Studios Hollywood on October 29, 2018 in Universal City, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/Getty Images)
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - OCTOBER 29: Actress Javicia Leslie visits Hallmark's "Home & Family"at Universal Studios Hollywood on October 29, 2018 in Universal City, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/Getty Images) /
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Ruby Rose as Kate Kane/Batwoman in Batwoman season 1, episode 20 “O, Mouse! — Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW /

Javicia Leslie’s Ryan Wilder will be taking over as the new Scarlet Knight in Batwoman season 2 but how can she carry on the legacy Kate Kane left behind?

Back during the Batwoman TV panel at DC FanDome, fans got officially introduced to newcomer Javicia Leslie, who landed the lead role as Ryan Wilder in Batwoman season 2, replacing Ruby Rose’s Kate Kane after the latter exited the show back in May.

With all the excitement surrounding the second season, let’s breakdown the challenges Leslie’s character will face, how she could carry the show to new heights and how, in order to make that happen, the show must address the elephant in the room.

Battle for the Cowl in Batwoman season 2

We already received a first-look at Leslie in the original Batsuit which was posted on Instagram. It’s obviously very Kane-esque including the red wig, making it clear that Wilder will most likely grab hold of the suit worn by Kate before she ultimately receives upgrades. Most recently, however, we got a look at what appears to be her official Batsuit which features natural, curly hair with red highlights. It also has more red accents on the gloves including a more angular bat symbol and a new utility belt.

Leslie’s Wilder most likely will have some differences to her costume that are more specific to her character. This was the belief following the illustration Jim Lee did for DC FanDome and it’s clear now following the official unveiling of the costume.

Ryan Wilder, the savior of Gotham

Following the departure of Rose from the show, the series’ creator and showrunner confirmed that, rather than borrowing the soap opera approach and recasting the role of Kate, they created an entirely different character so that they could preserve Rose’s work as Kate and carry on without her at the same time.

The announcement initially led to partial confusion (especially because of how Kate’s Batwoman established relationships and dynamics with every other character on the show) as well as some disappointment from comic fans and viewers alike.

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Leslie could face pressure – perhaps even more so than Rose – in portraying a character that has not succeeded Kate in the mantle in the comics. Yes, there’s the added benefit of being a completely original character but since this is a comic book show we’re talking about here, comic book fans are going to take some time adjusting to a character they don’t know from the source material.

Of course, Ryan Wilder will be dependent on the writers and the creative team to give her material that will make fans fall in love with her. And provided they deliver that (much like they did for Kate Kane in season 1), the rumors of the show jumping the shark won’t become a reality.

The Bat’s Instinct, and making that Vow

While each member of The Bat Family has their own motivation and even methods of crime-fighting, from Batgirl to Nightwing to Drake, what remains consistent is their drive towards ending crime and injustice within the city of Gotham. Like most, it’s a personal tragedy that started with a crime.

According to the press-release that went out to media-outlets, the character of Ryan Wilder has faced injustice for most of her life, having experienced systemic racism in the past.

Wilder, presumably, when Batwoman season 2 begins, will already be trying to reinvent herself, trying to avenge her mother’s death at the hands of Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow. And that’s her clear motive – to avenge her mum’s murder – but that will more than likely take her down the path in which she can enact that vow and, soon afterwards, become a defender for Gotham City.

Like Bruce Wayne in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy –  who infiltrated the criminal underbelly as he travelled the world for seven years before becoming a hero – Ryan Wilder will undoubtedly pick up some “bad habits” as her desire at first probably won’t be to be a hero for others. However, with Team Batwoman by her side, she will likely be “reformed” into that hero; she will endure and grow inspired by Kane’s Batwoman, and the quest to avenge her mother’s death will lead her to enact justice for others.

Dealing with the Elephant in the Room

Batwoman opened to lower ratings than Arrowverse predecessors, with the pilot episode being watched by 1.86 million viewers. This could be down to both the poor reception to the show’s trailer and the fact that TV is changing, so less people watch live than they once did. However,  the ratings did decline quite significantly over the show’s single season even though it improved a great deal as it went on. With season 2, however, there’s a real chance for a fresh start, which could attract new audiences towards the show.

The bold, new approach can either work its advantage or to its detriment, and that all depends on how they tackle the arrival of Ryan Wilder and how she plays into the storyline around her. They also must address the elephant in the room: Kate Kane.

Batwoman, Batwoman season 2
Ruby Rose as Kate Kane/Batwoman in Arrow — “Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Four” — Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW /

Kate may be out of the picture for now but she may not be fond of someone taking on her mantle without permission – and then you still have to address both her father Jacob (who hates the current Batwoman with a vengeance and never discovered that she was actually his daughter), and the unresolved ties with not only Alice but Kate’s ex Sophie Moore. How the writers deal with Kate’s absence and all those loose ends from the previous season could very well determine how next season is received.

If Batwoman season 2 is handled like the soft reboot it seems to be gearing up to be, then it will be up to Leslie to build upon the bricks laid out by Rose and make Batwoman her own – something she is clearly already doing.

If season 2 is successful, then we could see the show achieve even greater heights of success, one that can further explore the Batman legend in the Arrowverse during Wayne’s absence and introduce a brand new character in the process, giving a talented Black actress the long overdue chance to not only play Batwoman in a live-action production, but lead her own series and originate the central character.

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Are you looking forward to Javicia Leslie as newcomer, Ryan Wilder, the second Batwoman? How do you think the writers will address Kate Kane’s departure? What factors do you also think would make Wilder an excellent Scarlet Knight in Batwoman season 2? Let us know in the comments below!