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Some spoilers below for Gotham's second-to-last episode, so get caught up before reading too far down.
One day after Gotham semi-concluded Season 5 with its resolution-filled penultimate episode, star Camren Bicondova has gone public with the well-worded announcement that "They Did What?" serves as her official exit from the gloriously batty Fox drama. To put it in other words, Bicondova won't get to officially become Gotham's villainous Catwoman for its official flash-forward final episode.
I wanted to give (the character) Selina Kyle as much respect as possible. Some will say that giving her respect would include seeing the character through to the end of the show, which I understand. But, I firmly believe that part of leaving a legacy and being part of a legacy means knowing when to pass the torch to someone else. I was blessed to be the vessel for Selina Kyle for her formative teen years, and it only felt right to give someone else the torch for her adult self.
Camren Bicondova made it very clear in her post that the decision to bow out as Selina Kyle ahead of the series finale was one that she made, after much thought and many prayers. So it was smart of her (and everyone else) to make that known right up front, to get ahead of any potentially negative rumors about why she wasn't able to close out the character's primetime journey.
Hey, at least Camren Bicondova's Selina got to help make Bane look like a dipshit before saying goodbye. It sucked that she didn't get to say that to Bruce before he selfishly took his lengthy jaunt, but I'm betting that slight makes the flash-forward's Selina Kyle all the more interesting.
Speaking of, here's how Camren Bicondova revealed Selina's new portrayer.
The woman who will be playing the older Selina Kyle is the glorious Lili Simmons, who, when I met [her] for the first time, made me cry tears of joy. She is perfect for thisrole, and she really wanted to do Selina right. We spoke about Selina Kyle for hours; I shared journal entries and scenes that were prime examples of Selina's characteristics, and she shared thoughts of backstory for the 10 years that the audience doesn't see. I want to clearly express how much thought and care went into this decision, as well as how much respect for the character and legacy of Selina Kyle there is within it.
Lili Simmons, recent star of The Purge and Banshee, will be the older femme cat-ale donning the leather and claws for Gotham's future-set swan song. (Or is it a bat song, in this case?) It sounds like the two actresses spent more time discussing Catwoman and Selina than the screen time that Simmons will get to play her.
The two actresses do actually look somewhat similar, so seeing Lili Simmons take over as Selina shouldn't be as jarring as when Maggie Geha took over for young Clare Foley as Poison Ivy on Gotham. Of course, the Selina switcheroo is due to the passage of time rather than the weirdness that saw Ivy's transformation.
At 25, Lili Simmons won't need extensive makeup or too much suspension of disbelief on the part of the audience to buy her as the older Selina, who would be in her mid-to-late 20s by the time of the flash forward. The recast does raise the question of what any scenes between Bruce and Selina will look like.
With the exception of when Bruce is in the Bat-suit, 18-year-old David Mazouz will still be playing the character. Will he be given a makeup job to age him up, or will we just have to keep suspending our disbelief? Hey, we've done it for this long. Why not the series finale? If the penultimate episode is any sign, the final installment should be well worth watching.
The recast does make the absence of any clear shots of Selina from the first trailer and the official episode pics more understandable. Fans had no way of knowing Camren Bicondova was already done until she made the reveal herself today. Gotham will air its Camren Bicondova-free series finale on Fox on Thursday, April 25, at 8:00 p.m. ET.