Lesbian Batwoman Is Coming to TV, Will Be Played by a Real Live Lesbian!

When the CW announced back in May that Batwoman would be joining their next Arrowverse crossover event in 2018, I was glad, but not really excited, because those teeveepaloozas barely have enough storytelling room for their respective shows’ main characters — but holy sapphic scoops, queeros! Batwoman’s getting her own TV show! Probably! Most likely! It’s in the early stages of production, at least, by former Vampire Diaries executive producer/Smallville writer Caroline Dries and the established CW superhero production team of Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter and Geoff Johns. Here’s the pitch:

Armed with a passion for social justice and a flair for speaking her mind, Kate Kane 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. 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.

But wait! There’s more! According to TVLine, “the casting call for the would-be Arrowverse addition seeks an out lesbian actress, open ethnicity, to play age 25 to 29.”

Lesbian. Actress.

Open. Ethnicity.


Obviously Kate Kane will not be CW’s first queer woman. We’ve got lesbian Anissa Pierce/Thunder on Black Lightning (which continues to suspiciously be left out of the Arrowverse), lesbian Alex Danvers and her former fiancee Maggie Sawyer (who is, funnily enough, Kate Kane’s former fiancee in the comic books) on Supergirl, and bisexual badass Sara Lance on Legends of Tomorrow (and her girlfriend Ava Sharpe and her former lady-lovers). But it’s still a huge addition! Firstly because Kate Kane is the most famous lesbian in comic book history, and secondly because it has to mean we’re getting Renee Montoya on our TVs again! (Renee is Kate’s first love and DC hasn’t forgotten it; they most recently canoodled in Bombshells and and the animated TV movie Batman: Bad Blood.)

If the series goes to pilot after the crossover, we’ll see the first episodes in 2019.

In the very near future I will craft an essential Batwoman reading list to get you ready for this show. In the meantime, here are nine queer humans our TV team thinks would make an excellent Kate Kane. (I know the casting call is for a lesbian and some of these humans identify as other things on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, but we still think they’d make great Batwomen!)

Alia Shawkat

If we’ve learned one thing about Alia Shawkat this year it’s that she has had enough of these straight white men talking over her and making Jessica Walter cry and also ruining the country. She has two of those three things in common with Kate Kane, and probably it’d be three if Kate Kane knew Jessica Walter.

Sasha Lane

If you’ve seen her in Hearts Beat Loud, you already know what a great choice this is. (If you haven’t seen Hearts Beat Loud, what are you doing with your life, buddy??) Once you see her in The Miseducation of Cameron Post, you’re going to be rioting in the streets for her!

Amandla Stenberg

The ultimate Justice For Rue would be joining The Justice League, would it not?

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

In case you didn’t know, our TV critic Kayla is a fashion icon who just happened to get her hairs turned red yesterday. Coincidence or destiny?

Brianna Hildebrand

She’s already played queer once, in Deadpool 2. Let’s make it two for two on gay superheroes!

Bex Taylor-Klaus

They won us over in The Killing and even more on Scream and now we’re ready to see them take on a leading TV role where they can really shine!

Emily Rios

You might know her from Breaking Bad, or you might know her as lesbian detective Adriana Mendez from The Bridge. Either way you know she’d make one badass Kate Kane.

Shannon Purser

She’s busy with her new Netflix show but is she too busy to play a lesbian superhero she kind of already looks like? No, I don’t think she is. Also, I distinctly remember seeing a photo of her on Instagram sitting inside the 1966 Batmobile so she knows what’s up.

Ariela Barer

Yes, yes, she’s probably contracted to Marvel for life due to her role on The Runaways — but what if she were not?

We want to her your casting choices in the comments, and look, feel free to throw in your hopes and dreams for Kate and Renee too.

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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


  1. What a truly wonderful surprise! I actually love that she won’t be the first out queer woman in the DCTV (or whatever we’re calling it?) universe, because it makes me trust them a bit more.

    • THATS what I said when I hear the news, too! I feel like I can finally feel assured that it won’t get messed up right out of the gates, you know?

      • YES! And it feels like they were slooowly testing the waters, like: Sarah Lance –> killed a queer character and then were like, shit, wait, and turned around and rebirthed her and put her on a different show and then made her the heart and soul of that show and gave her the main romantic storyline of the 3rd season. Alex Danvers –> made an established character queer part-way through the show after fans asked for it explicitly a lot. Anissa Pierce –> queer woc side-but-in-the-main-ensemble character right out the gate! and kinda backtracked a bit on her visible queerness BUT did make her a main part of the plot & not dead. Now, hopefully, they’re finally ready to make a queer *main* character right from the very beginning!

        • For the record, this isn’t me complaining about any of these characters (whom I love!!). Just, they were warming up/figuring it all out, ya know?

        • @edgeoftheocean8 i’d kindly disagree with you about Anissa. Saying “kinda backtracked a bit on her visible queerness” makes it seem like a queer character is only visible if she’s in a romantic relationship. I was one of the people who was disappointed that they didn’t show us any development of her and Grace. But the show clearly didn’t have any interest in romantic relationships in season 1. It was all business.

          I think Anissa so far is the best female queer character on the DC CW. But the show never dialled down on her visible queerness.

          • That’s fair! I sorta felt like early on she said and did more stuff about her being queer, but definitely most of that was around dating (going to the gay bar, flirting with a potential love interest at a bookstore). I felt like some of it was in things she said to her family too and part of her activism? But it’s a totally fair critique/comment to say that a character isn’t just visibly queer if she’s in a relationship!

            Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have noticed the lack of romance if they hadn’t gone so hard on it in the beginning, you know? I think that’s why I said backtracked/dialed back, because it felt like they hit the ground RUNNING on her romantic storylines and then those scenes sorta disappeared or were cut for time on plot stuff. But, to a lesser extent, the same thing sorta happened with the other characters as well. It was certainly a jam-packed first season.

            I still love her as a character and think it’s a huge deal to have a queer black woman who was unapologetically sexual with another woc on network tv!! That’s part of why I posted my second comment, because no matter how disappointed I’ve been with some of how Anissa is used (and ditto with Alex Danvers recently), I still love her so much and am frankly amazed that she exists on my tv at all!

          • @taylordazzles sorry, meant to tag you in my reply!

            Thinking more about this, I think there’s something unique about tv in general and the CW in particular that makes me keep an obsessive count on the romantic/sexual storylines and scenes that their queer women get. I think because there’s such a tendency to desexualize queer female characters (i.e. Emily Fields getting chaste kisses while other characters get full-on sex scenes), and because it often feels like show runners don’t know what to do with queer female characters if it’s not giving them a girlfriend or giving them a baby/the obsessive desire to have a baby that probably ends up with them dead.

            BUT that’s me putting a ton of baggage onto Black Lightning that it totally hasn’t earned, and I’m certainly willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Especially because, as I said in my other comment and you pointed out as well, it’s not like the other characters have been getting hot and heavy every episode while they ignore Anissa.

          • @edgeoftheocean8 I totally get what you mean. I understand. I also complained too about the disappearance of Grace or Chenoa. But thinking about it now, i believe the reason they went full on at the beginning was because they really didn’t want to do any romance at all. So they just wanted to do it early on to kind of get it over with.

            I mean i’m glad Anissa’s love interests even disappeared. See what happened to Jennifer’s love interest, Khalil. He got hit with a stray bullet that left him crippled and made him become a villain.
            Imagine that happened to Anissa’s own love interest. We’d have trashed Black Lightning by now. So I’m good with disappearing love interests in comparison to that kind of shit they pulled with Khalil. I mean this is Black Lightning. Nobody is safe. Anissa is definitely safe but I hope they don’t go killing or harming her love interests.

            Well one thing we know for sure though is that this show will not desexualize anybody. The show is very hot and sexy.

            And they care about the queer rep. I remember the episode with the lesbian moms. And also the one with the gay dude at the store with Anissa.

            I just feel that the show dialled back on any love interest because they didn’t have any time for it and wanted to go all business. But I was as disappointed as you are. I mean I was like when does Anissa get to breathe? Study for school? All action and business. Lol.

            Hopefully we will see more this season. The actress that plays Grace is in Atlanta filming the show. So we know she’ll be in season 2, though we don’t know how important she will be or if she’s just there to play love interest and disappear again after 2-3 episodes.

          • @taylordazzles Haha that’s soo true, I’d MUCH rather have a disappearing love interest than an almost-died-and-became-a-villain love interest, any day. And very true, I’m complaining about her love life not getting time but she doesn’t seem to even have time for her job + school etc etc. If I were in med school AND teaching, much less also being a superhero, I for sure wouldn’t have time to date, lol.

  2. I just want it be on public record that I’m incredibly excited for this news! Today has been the best kind of day.

  3. I just hope they nail the costume, especially the red wig(and the red hair in general) and the white makeup, which made for one of the most distinctive and breathtaking visuals in the comics.
    I am also curious to see if they include her army background (and her family) and her being jewish.

  4. I’m excited! Does anyone know yet which Earth she’s supposed to be from? It would make the most sense for her to be from the same one as Supergirl since that show has already made a couple of references to Batman and Gotham and it would also be nice for Supergirl to be able to have occasional crossovers with a character she doesn’t have to travel across dimensions to interact with. I’d also much rather see her team up with Supergirl on a semi-regular basis than Green Arrow because he is the worst.

    • It being ‘Arrow-Verse’, it could be ANY of them. It adds massive flexibility to the how/when/where mechanical part of build “Kates World”.

      /Much SQWEEEEEEE…

  5. Because it’s the CW, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned about what they ultimately do with the character/series. My disdain for the CW is well-documented around here. I have very little faith in them as a network after YEARS of toxic bullshit. And much of that isn’t even related to how they portray queer women. They are just that bad for many other reasons. But Batwoman is one of my favorite comic book characters so of course I want to give it a try in the beginning. I pray they surprise me the way they’ve done with Black Lightening.

    I also see the usual fake fanboys complaining about Batwoman being a lesbian(they of course don’t know how to use Google to find out she’s been a lesbian for years now and the “original” is a totally different character entirely) and that the CW wants to cast one to play her.

    • I heard rumors a particular writer and producer was leader of toxic bullshit.

      The reason why Supergirl became the Mon-El show and why Black Lightening did so well was because he wasn’t allowed to be interfer with it letting the talents of it’s staff and crew shine thru.

      And now that this guy is gone from the CW is the reason Batgirl is even in the pipeline.

      But I don’t have much faith with that rumor or trust with big names (Bat family is big name to me) not getting over managed into a mess like Arrow.
      One person can’t be the cause. That’s too simple.

      Here’s hoping things do turn out like Black Lighten tho.

  6. We will at least see Batwoman on a crossover event in December according to the Deadline article so thats cool. Really high hopes but unfortunately low expectations. If only JH Williams artwork could come to life.

  7. She’s probably too busy being an awesome person, but Tessa Thompson would be great…also Evan Rachel Wood bisexual.

    I feel like Rosario Dawson would be perfect for Renee! And she’s in a soon ending CW show, so she must have connections!

    I’m very excited about this!

    • I would like to strongly second this!!
      Sarah Shahi would also 100% be perfect as Renee Montoya!
      Personally, I wish they would give this a noir feeling.
      Not like „can‘t watch this with a light in the hallway still on“, but old forties/fifties, rain, night, crime, noir.
      Most of my dream castings are straight as far as I know and already tied up with marvel, like Elodie Young (Elektra) and Rachael Taylor (Jessica Jones).
      Or the actress who played Tara in True Blood!
      I hope we get some great physical action and work out scenes! I loved those on Arrow.
      Ah,I‘m excited!
      Also, I‘ve already plotted half the season in my head by the end of this comment.
      The possibilities!

      • Well, now I’m gonna have a great night!!!!!!!!!!

        Both of you had put amazing images in my head: Sarah Shahi & Rosario Dawson togheter in Batwoman (I really don’t care who plays Renee and Kate, either way works just fine for me)

  8. Having read this series since her Batman Detectives rebirth, not to be confused with the Rebirth run, I couldn’t be more estatic.

  9. bex taylor klaus has already portrayed a character inside the arrowverse, she was sin on arrow, friends with sarah lance.

  10. I really hope they make her butch like she is in the comics. I’d love to see Kate wearing a tux and sporting a buzzcut. I was disappointed they made Maggie Sawyer more femme on Supergirl, but they have an opportunity here to provide a more masculinely styled lesbian character.

  11. Sorry, I’m not feeling any of these options…I mean maybe Emily Rios but I haven’t seen her in much to get her badassery.

    • Emily Rios is great. She’s got a new show called Snowfall that premieres tomorrow on FX. She is also going to in that James Baldwin movie that Barry Jenkins is directing.

  12. My dentist’s name is Kate Kane and I crack jokes in my head and giggle every time I go there. “yes, I did use the bat-toothbrush and I bat-flossed”


    And it may be literally the only thing that keeps me watching Supergirl next year.

  14. When they make a casting call for open ethnicity, that usually means white/caucasian. When they want to cast a non-white person,it is usually stated explicitly which ethnicity they want.
    So, my mind isn’t even going to any non white lesbian actress.
    Plus a lead titular character like this, they will not change her from the comics.

    Personally I pick Natasha Negovanlis as Batwoman. I have no other person in mind.

  15. This is so exciting! I hope the CW doesn’t screw it up – when they’re good they’re great, but a lot of times they really just miss the mark.
    Also- does anyone else get super confused when they see Sarah Schecter’s name? There’s always a moment when I think she’s a fictional person because her name is a perfect split of Sarah Schuster/Jenny Schecter.

  16. I can’t think of a lot of lesbian identifying actresses who fit the character the way I know her so casting is tough. But what this hopefully means is that this is a great chance for an unknown actress to break out and get attention!

    If we expanded the casting to queer women in general, my forever choice is Evan Rachel Wood but she’s way out of the CW’s league. So the actress I want is Natasha Negovanlis! She’s already said she wants the part and this could make her a mainstream star!

  17. I can’t even… I’m having a moment of vapor-lock just now.

    Uhm. SQWEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeee…
    Can we get Rene Montoya/The Question happening too? Will Alice be a later add?

    /Can’t EVEN!!

  18. Even though I love Anissa Pierce with all my heart (and Sara Lance and Alex Danvers, too), I’m withholding my excitement until we’re on the other side of casting and have seen the crossover. Maybe even until we’re halfway through Batwoman season 1. I love the collective enthusiasm here, but I personally don’t trust like that when the CW is concerned.

    If those age parameters were a little more lax, I’d love to see Heather Peace on my tv every week, kissing hot ladies and punching baddies right in the face. For justice.

  19. I assumed this was the role Maisie Richardson-Sellers would be taking after her character left Legends of Tomorrow, but she’s still working for the arrowverse. Maybe not, though. Maybe she’s stepping into some other lesbian role on screen.

  20. Amandla Stenberg or Emily Rios from this list but I think they should go with an unknown actress.

    CW has a long way but I wouldn’t go so far as to say I trust them with Batwoman.

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