Javicia Leslie is the new Batwoman. She will assume the role of Ryan Wilder in the second season of The CW’s DC comic book-based drama, replacing Ruby Rose who exited the series in a shocking move in May. Rather than recast Rose’s part of Kate Kane, the producers have chosen to introduce a brand new, non-comic book-based character to assume the title of Gotham City’s newest protector.
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. Today, reformed and sober, Ryan lives in van with her plant. A girl who would steal milk from an alley cat and could also kill you with her bare hands, Ryan is the most dangerous type of fighter: highly skilled and wildly disciplined. An out lesbian. Athletic. Raw. Passionate. Fallible. And very much not your stereotypical All-American hero.
In a statement, Leslie said (via Deadline):
“I am extremely proud to be the first Black actress to play the iconic role of Batwoman on television, and as a bisexual woman, I am honored to join this groundbreaking show which has been such a trailblazer for the LGBTQ+ community.”
Leslie is the first woman of color to headline her own DC show on The CW, although the Arrowverse has already included several POC in supporting superhero roles. ‘Black Lightning’ features Cress Williams in the title role with his daughters Anissa (Nafessa Williams) and Jennifer (China Anne McClain) operating as the superheroes Thunder and Lightning. Anissa/Thunder is also a lesbian.
Caroline Dries, who developed the ‘Batwoman’ series recently said:
“I’m inventing a whole new character who in her past was inspired by Batwoman, so she will take on the mantle and is completely maybe not the right person at the time to be doing it, so that’s what makes it fun. [‘Batwoman’ will] respect everything that Ruby put into the Kate Kane character” and “helps the audience a little bit too, that we are not asking them to not address the elephant in the room.”
Leslie most recently co-starred on CBS’ ‘God Friended Me’ and the movie ‘Roped’.
Stay tuned for updates on the all-new, all-different ‘Batwoman’ as they arrive!