When Ruby Rose's Batwoman was introduced in last year's Arrowverse crossover, Elseworlds, it was explained that Batman had left Gotham City three years prior. Since then, Kate Kane, Bruce Wayne's cousin, has taken on the role of the city's protector.
Though Batman was talked about during the crossover event, the character will remain off limits to the network for now, per a report from The Wrap. Instead, the series is using the Caped Crusader's conspicuous absence to its advantage by helping to craft Kane's story.
"Batman is missing. What does that do when your heroes are gone, and who steps into that void?” said Sarah Schechter, one of Batwoman's executive producers. "What’s great about the restriction of just focusing on Batwoman is that we have to build a world for our character. It’s a character that people don’t really know."
Essentially, Batwoman will continue to take place in a post-Batman Gotham City while exploring what's happened to the city since he's been gone. Although it's not clear exactly what is and isn't off limits to The CW at this point. In addition to Batman, Elseworlds also mentioned notable Bat-villains the Riddler and Mr. Freeze, as well as Arkham Asylum. There was even a brief glimpse of the Bat-Signal at one point.
This isn't the first time (or the last) that we'll be seeing a Batman-inspired story sans Batman. Gotham, which is currently wrapping up its final season, looked at Gotham in the years following Thomas Wayne's murder. The upcoming series Pennyworth will go even further back in time, focusing on the elder Wayne and his relationship with the family's loyal butler Alfred Pennyworth years before Bruce Wayne is even born. On the big screen, there's Todd Phillips' upcoming Joker movie, starring Joaquin Phoenix as the Clown Prince of Crime.
Of course, Batman could eventually show up in Batwoman, but it looks like we'll have to wait for Matt Reeves' The Batman before we see the Dark Knight himself in action again.
Batwoman will premiere on The CW at some point in 2019.