Batwoman is coming to The CW, but who will play Kate Kane? The network has confirmed not only that character of Batwoman will be openly gay in the Arrowverse, but that they plan to cast an openly gay actress in the role. This casting choice is in line with the current iteration of Batwoman in the comics; Kate Kane is a Jewish lesbian who decides to fight crime under the moniker of Batwoman after she is kicked out of West Point for refusing to lie about her sexuality.
Both Batwoman and Gotham City are slated to be introduced during the annual Arrowverse crossover event, and a spinoff show is already in the works. The CW has featured previously featured LGBTQ+ characters in other Arrowverse shows and will feature its first openly trans character (and actress) in Supergirl later this year. However, Batwoman will be the first openly LGBTQ+ title character of a CW Arrowverse show.
The casting call for Batwoman stated that The CW was seeking an openly gay actress of any ethnicity, between 25-29. Given that the casting call asks for any ethnicity, the physical appearance of Kate Kane in the comics is not necessarily a determining factor for casting her CW counterpart. As such, when putting together this casting list, ethnicity, race, and other physical characteristics like height were not taken into account (the focus was on age, sexuality, and experience). In some cases, the availability of actresses meant that they were excluded from this list, including Diona Reasonover (NCIS) and Maisie Richardson-Sellers (Legends of Tomorrow).
Like other shows in the Arrowverse, it is completely possible that The CW will cast a relative unknown in the role of Kate Kane. However, there are several actresses who come to mind and could offer different and compelling portrayals of Batwoman. Unless otherwise noted, all of the actresses on this list fit this casting description: they are all out, proud, and talented.
5. Ellen Page
While Ellen Page is 31 years old, the Oscar-nominated actress's high-profile would make her an incredible addition to the Arrowverse. In fact, Page's popularity alone could attract new viewers and raise the profile of the show. More importantly, Page is a talented actress who has consistently brought the same intensity and nuance to every project she has been a part of, from indie films to blockbusters like X-Men.
However, Page's fame is a double-edged sword, and she would likely only get the role of Batwoman if she actively pursued it. Otherwise, The CW likely would not be able to afford her. Page is currently the star of the travel show Gaycation and is set to appear in two upcoming Netflix shows, The Umbrella Academy and Tales of the City. While this means she has a busy schedule, it also signals that she is open to working in television.
4. Jessica Harbeck
Stuntwoman Jessica Harbeck isn't usually in the spotlight, but she has done extensive stunt work, including for action films like Bumblebee and Black Panther and television shows like Transparent, Big Little Lies, and Westworld. If Batwoman cast Harbeck as Kane, then the show would have a veteran stunt performer front-and-center, opening up numerous options for stunts and complex fight choreography. With Harbeck in the title role, Batwoman would be at the cutting edge of stunts.
Of course, Harbeck would be a gamble for The CW in that she would have little to no name or face recognition. However, her experience on camera more than makes up for this, and would set the tone for the entire show.
3. Emily Rios
Emily Rios is a seasoned television actress who has stolen scenes in Breaking Bad and The Bridge, and currently wows audiences as a surprising villain in Snowfall on FX. While Snowfall could have a conflicting schedule with The CW, Rios may also be willing to transition shows in order to be the eponymous character of Batwoman.
The twenty-nine-year-old actress pulls no punches and masterfully portrays characters who are simultaneously tough and vulnerable. She effortlessly navigates dramatic scenes with a realism and grit that could help to ground Batwoman and distinguish Gotham from other Arrowverse shows.
2. Hayley Kiyoko
While twenty-seven-year-old singer and actress Hayley Kiyoko has starred in television shows like The Fosters and CSI: Cyber, she is perhaps best known for her singing career. Kiyoko founded and sang with The Stunners from 2007 to 2011 before launching her own solo career. Through her music and her activism, Kiyoko has become an icon for LGBTQ+ teenagers, and her fans would doubtlessly follow her to Batwoman. Her inclusion in the show would signal that Batwoman is not only trying to include LGBTQ+ characters, but also LGBTQ+ communities.
Kiyoko could offer sincerity, energy, and humor to the character of Batwoman, helping to create a likable Kane that the audience would root for - and she would be an amazing addition to a musical crossover episode, of course.
1. Samira Wiley
Samira Wiley has played major supporting roles in both Orange is the New Black and A Handmaid's Tale, for which she was nominated for the Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress. But the 31-year-old actress is ready, and has been ready for a while, to helm her own television show. Technically, Wiley is slightly older than the casting age range, but she could easily portray a woman in her late twenties.
Wiley is one of the most talented actresses of her generation, and her empathetic portrayals have won audiences over time and time again. As Poussey in Orange is the New Black and Moira in Handmaid's Tale, she has helped to craft believable and complex queer characters of color. Batwoman is the next logical step in her career, putting her into the spotlight that she deserves. Without question, she would make Batwoman an icon: she's the hero that we need, but don't deserve.