Ruby Rose Leaving Batwoman

Update: We have updated this post with additional details about Ruby Rose’s departure from the series.

Today is ending with some shocking news for superhero fans: the DC Comics series Batwoman is losing its lead actress, Ruby Rose. The CW series just wrapped up its first season last weekend, but today, an official statement from the actress herself confirms that she’s departing the series, leaving producers to recast the role for the second season that has already been ordered.

Deadline has the news of Ruby Rose leaving Batwoman, and she made this statement about her depature:

“I have made the very difficult decision to not return to Batwoman next season. 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.”

This is nearly an unprecedented situation. While key characters in ensemble casts have left in the middle of a show’s run, such as Steve Carell from The Office and Topher Grace from That 70’s Show, it’s rare for the lead, title character of a series to depart. Examples include when Roseanne Barr was fired from the Roseanne reboot and when Andy Whitfield left Spartacus following a cancer diagnosis.

In case you hadn’t heard before, Ruby Rose sustained a pretty serious back injury while performing a stunt during the show’s first season. Rose herniated two discs, which made it difficult for her to feel her arms at times and risked giving her facial paralysis, not to mention coming close to severing her spinal cord. The actress underwent emergency surgery and returned to work. Although Rose’s full statement claims her departure has nothing to do with that injury, one can’t help but wonder if it played some part in her decision to leave the show, if only for her physical well-being.

In the rest of Rose’s statement, she said:

“I am beyond appreciative to Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter and Caroline Dries for not only giving me this incredible opportunity, but for welcoming me into the DC universe they have so beautifully created. Thank you Peter Roth and Mark Pedowitz and the teams at Warner Bros. and The CW who put so much into the show and always believed in me. Thank you to everyone who made season one a success – I am truly grateful.”

For their part, the show’s producers offered up a statement sending off Rose respectfully:

“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. 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.”

Though Ruby Rose faced some backlash when she was first cast in the role of Batwoman, Arrowverse fans ended up digging her in the role. Rose being part of the LGBTQ community and bringing that experience to a character who has that woven into her DNA really helped bring an instant authenticity to the role. Now The CW will have to find a new star to lead the show, and hopefully they can find someone who rings just as true to the character as Ruby Rose did.

Update: TV Line has additional details about Ruby Rose’s departure, with one source close to the production telling the outlet:

“It wasn’t 100-percent her decision. 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.”

The article notes that Rose did not work well with the long hours the show demanded and was not adjusting to life in Vancouver, where the show is shot.

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