Could Riverdale’s Vanessa Morgan be the new Batwoman?

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 06: Vanessa Morgan attends the InStyle And Warner Bros. Golden Globes After Party 2019 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 6, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 06: Vanessa Morgan attends the InStyle And Warner Bros. Golden Globes After Party 2019 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 6, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images) /

Vanessa Morgan is being looked at to don Batwoman’s cowl and become Gotham’s next Scarlet Knight

Looks like I was dreaming small, Culturess readers. Here I was advocating for Vanessa Morgan’s character on Riverdale, Toni Topaz, to make the jump to Katy Keene, and all the while The CW machine was seeing if Morgan should become the next Batwoman.

The Cinema Spot dropped the news on June 8, revealing the following.

"We’ve heard that alongside her audition, Vanessa Morgan will also be doing a screen test. This screen test will presumably be done with other members of the main cast.This does not mean that other actresses can not audition for the role, though. The CW wants an actress who is younger than 30 years old, and “gets” Berlanti Productions and its culture."

This is coming off the heels of Morgan speaking up about her feelings concerning her Riverdale character being a token of diversity on the show, as well as the pay differential between her and her castmates despite her being the show’s only Black lead.

Morgan also tweeted her determination to make different choices about her roles in the future

If she lands the role, Morgan will be the first Black woman to lead her own show on The CW and the first Black female superhero lead in the Arrowverse. Her character will follow in the footsteps of Nafessa William’s Anissa “Thunder” Pierce (Black Lightning) as the second prominent Black lesbian superhero on The CW.

A big swing is certainly being taken here, but it’s one that completely sidesteps the many concerns fans have had since Ruby Rose hung her cape up. It’s been one thing after another.

From showrunner Caroline Dries’ decision not to recast Kate Kane but rather create a whole new character to take up the Batwoman mantle instead, to the persistent rumors that the series will kill Kate Kane off to make room for this new lead, it’s hard to know exactly what might happen next.

According to a leaked casting call, proposed new lead Ryan Wilder is a very different woman from Kate. It describes her character as follows.

"Female, Mid-late 20s. She’s likable, messy, a little goofy and untamed. She’s also nothing like Kate Kane, the woman who wore the batsuit before her. With no one in her life to keep her on track, Ryan spent years as a drug-runner, dodging the GCPD and masking her pain with bad habits. A girl who would steal milk for an alley cat could also kill you with her bare hands, Ryan is the most dangerous type of fighter: highly skilled and wildly undisciplined. An out lesbian. Athletic. Raw. Passionate. Fallible. And very much not your stereotypical All-American hero."

While Ryan sounds like a fascinating character, she’s not Kate Kane. And fans have not kept quiet about not wanting a lead change. Ryan’s entry into the Gotham side of the Arrowverse will not only be akin to a soft reboot for the series, but it will also create new lore for Bawoman that de-centers Kate Kane; the exact opposite of what those decrying this move want.

The casting call for Ryan did encourage LGBTQIA+ performers to go out for the role; however, it’s may not a deal-breaker for donning Batwoman’s cape if Morgan is being considered. As far as the public is aware, she is not a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, so this is another step away from what fans desire. The same can be said for Batwoman once again not being played by a Jewish actor, a point that left Jewish fans of Kate Kane feeling displaced and unheard when Ruby Rose was cast.

If Morgan is cast as the next Batwoman, fans of the series–and those on the fringes peeking in on the storm of controversy surrounding Batwoman–should prepare for another debate across the web. The move will certainly bring in a new crop of fans excited to see where Morgan takes the series but those fans who feel that none of their concerns about the show have been addressed may well decide to leave it behind.

And none of this even touches the change this purported casting would bring to Riverdale.

If Morgan exits the show, it’s possible Toni Topaz could be recast and the series could still retain one of its beloved bisexual characters as well as its sole canon same-sex relationship, Choni. But if she leaves, and the character is not recast, Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Acasa will be back in the hot seat if he doesn’t hold to his promise to improve writing across the board for characters of color on the series.

No matter how you feel about the prospect of Morgan becoming the Scarlet Knight, it should still be noted that a Black actress is seriously being considered for the lead role in a superhero show on The CW. And that’s huge.

If Morgan, or someone else, lands the role, I expect Marc Guggenheim to keep the idea of Superbat being the future of the Arrowverse on the table. He was specifically referring to Kate and Kara replacing Barry and Oliver’s relationship as the core dynamic for the ‘verse but there’s nothing that says that can’t be Ryan and Kara too.

Still, even as a new world of possibilities opens with the idea of Morgan becoming the next Batwoman, I can’t help but question The CW’s comfort with decentralizing Kate Kane. If this were Batman, would we really be talking about shuffling Bruce Wayne to the side in favor of an original character?

I don’t know but fans did ask for Morgan to be heard. Looks like The CW is listening.

Next. 5 LGBTQ actresses who could assume the role of Batwoman. dark

What do you think of the idea of Vanessa Morgan becoming the new Batwoman? Serve up your thoughts in the comments below!