Batwoman: Where Does Wallis Day’s Kate Kane Fit in Gotham?

We talked to Batwoman's Wallis Day about bringing Kate Kane back to Gotham.

Wallis Day dressed in black as Nyssa Vex on Krypton
Photo: Syfy

This Batwoman article contains spoilers through Season 2, Episode 12.

Following the revelation earlier this season that Kate Kane is, in fact, very much alive, Batwoman fans have been wondering how, exactly, the former Scarlet Knight might return to a show that has largely moved on without her. After all, Ryan Wilder is fully Batwoman in her own right now and the show has recalibrated itself accordingly. Her unique perspective as both a Black woman and a product of Gotham’s failed justice system has allowed Batwoman to tell the kinds of radically different stories that most superhero series aren’t even attempting. And Ryan is building her own relationships with Luke, Mary, Sophie, and even Alice (sort of). Is this a world that even has room for Kate Kane – let alone still needs her?

According to Wallis Day, the answer to that question is a resounding yes. The former Krypton star made her official debut as Kate Kane in Season 2 episode “Initiate Self Destruct,” and spoke to Den of Geek about the excitement and challenges that have come with taking over the role.

“There’s always going to be a place for Kate in Gotham,” Day says. “I genuinely believe that she’s so integral to all these other characters in the show – if you look at Alice and you look at Jacob and Mary, they orbit around Kate.”

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Day teases that the actor behind the character won’t be the only change we see in Kate Kane when she returns to Gotham in Season 2: “I think the main difference is the Kate that we see now, post-season one, has had so much more happen to her. There’s so much more depth to her.  I think that’s probably the main difference, and it’s very exciting.”

Day herself, who starred for two seasons as Nyssa-Vex in Syfy’s Krypton, is over the moon about returning to the world of DC Comics and its characters. “I absolutely love it,” Day says. “I love the DC universe so much. And I think having the chance to play you know, more of a hero instead of a villain is so exciting. But then again Nyssa sort of flipped and I feel like this could as well. Oh, my goodness. I am just really excited for her, [to play her].” 

Of course, at the moment, Kate’s return probably doesn’t look the way most of us Batwoman fans might expect. She’s not only clearly been damaged physically and mentally – she also doesn’t even really know she’s Kate. Thanks to the hypnotist Enigma, she now believes herself to be Circe Sionis, the daughter of False Face Society leader Roman, who is also the infamous Black Mask.

“The Circe thing is amazing. That is a whole different element,” Day says. “And I don’t play Circe as Kate who believes she’s Circe, because that’s not what Circe would believe. But then you see fragments of [Kate’s] memories that come back, and you’ll see that I incorporate more of Kate as we journey through this season. There’s just such an incredible storyline with her.”

Day, who spends her first episode wearing a wooden mask that hides her face, had to rely on her physicality not just to initially define her Kate, but also to differentiate her from Circe, the woman she believes herself to be.

“I’m such a physical person. I work with a movement coach before everything I do. And obviously, your face is your main form of expression, with acting,” Day explains. “So, we had to basically we had to amp up the physicality of it. [Just] really hone in on how Circe moves in comparison to how Kate moves her body. And then I put a lot of the emphasis in the eyes because obviously, [that’s what] you can see through the mask.” 

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“[But] Kate is still in there,” she insists. “I think it’s going to take core memories and key moments and key people in Kate’s life to be able to bring back [her] memories and personality and overpower Enigma has been able to do.”

It’s also not an accident that Day’s first major scenes as Kate occur opposite Rachel Skarsten’s Alice, a character who has admittedly floundered a bit in the wake of Ryan’s arrival, spending most of her time isolated from the rest of the series’ cast. And though Batwoman gave Ryan a perfectly justifiable reason to despise Alice, their antagonistic relationship has really never felt that compelling. Of course – as “Initiate Self Destruct” proves – Ryan is never going to go out of her way to save or help the woman that killed her mother. 

“I think the thing I’m most excited about is for Kate to reconnect with Alice/Beth,” Day says. “Obviously, the whole twin storyline is so powerful anyway, and I feel like they have so much potential as one kind of villain twin sister and one hero twin sister. It’s just so exciting for me that they can do so much with it.”

“Rachel was one of the first people that reached out to me,” she elaborates. “And I know how important this recast has been for [her]. It was so important for me and Rach to get the chemistry right between our characters and to do this the right way. We had so many conversations before I even got to Vancouver – speak on the phone, FaceTime, and just really get down to the nitty-gritty of who Beth is and who Kate is, what Beth has been through [on her own], and what they’ve been through together.”

Of course, Kate’s long-awaited return to Gotham does raise an important question – how will Batwoman navigate the balance between its former leading lady and its current one? The show has really put in the work to center Ryan’s Batwoman as a new and different kind of hero with a uniquely interesting story in her own right. But it’s still true that many of Batwoman’s supporting characters still have strong, deep ties to Kate. 

“I think Kate is so concentrated right now on trying to find out who she is and what’s happened to her in the last year that there’s definitely, definitely space for both Kate and Ryan on this show,” Day said.

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At the moment, it certainly seems possible that Kate may never take up a vigilante mantle of any type again. That’s more than her right, after everything she’s been through. Maybe she doesn’t want to be Batwoman anymore if she doesn’t have to be – or maybe she’d rather take up a different mantle within the Bat Team since Ryan seems to be doing fine in the cowl on her own. There’s certainly plenty of story to explore – in a way that could, should the show decide to do so, keep both women around. But it sounds as though we may have to wait a while to find out either way.

“Whether we see Kate step up or not, I don’t know yet. But there is definitely room for them [both] in this show. And I think the answer to your question [about how Kate will fit back into the world she left behind] is probably going a story to be told next season.”