The CW network has announced that it is going ahead with a pilot episode order for Batwoman based on a lesbian comic book character created in 2006.
The network gave its support to debut the character with “gender fluid” actress Ruby Rose in the role during its December airing of the crossover event, Elseworlds, which took place across three of the network’s superhero TV series.
If accepted to full series after the pilot, the show will be helmed by showrunner and writer Caroline Dries (The Vampire Diaries) and exec producer Greg Berlanti, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
“Armed with a passion for social justice and a flair for speaking her mind, Kate Kane [Rose] soars onto the streets of Gotham as Batwoman, an out lesbian and highly trained street fighter primed to snuff out the failing city’s criminal resurgence,” the CW says in its series description. “But don’t call her a hero yet. In a city desperate for a savior, Kate must overcome her own demons before embracing the call to be Gotham’s symbol of hope.”
The character is not based on the more well-known Barbara Gordon Batgirl character but upon the openly gay character of Kate Kane who debuted as Gotham City’s Jewish, lesbian superhero in 2006. Kate Kane appeared in Gotham during a period when DC had been publishing its Infinite Crisis series starting in 2005. The storyline took Batman out of Gotham for a period of time, giving the Kane character the idea to take up the bat mantle in his absence.
The possible series is touted as the first series starring a lesbian character. However, the CW’s superhero TV offerings are filled with gay characters. All of them — including Black Lightning and ensemble show Legends of Tomorrow — feature top-billed characters who are gay. Still, it is true that Batwoman will be the first major series with a lesbian as the lead if it makes it to series.
The series has already caused some controversy. When Rose — who describes herself as “gender fluid” — was cast, some lesbian activists were upset that the network did not cast a strictly lesbian actress for the part.
The complaints rose to such a din that Rose quit Twitter and deleted her account to devote her energies to the show instead of bickering on Twitter. Rose also limited her Instagram account to commenting only by pre-approved users.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.