Javicia Leslie Is CW’s New Batwoman

The wait for Ruby Rose's replacement is over.

batwoman ruby rose

It came as something of a shock when after only one season of the CW’s show Batwoman, lead actor Ruby Rose left the production and the role of Batwoman. Now, after two months of speculation, it’s been announced that replacing her in the title role will be Javicia Leslie, best known from the CBS dramedy series God Friended Me.

Rather than recasting that specific character, Leslie will be joining the show as a new Batwoman (legal name Ryan Wilder), inspired by Rose’s character. Showrunner Caroline Dries stated specifically that Rose’s Kate Kane wasn’t being killed off, but rather had “disappeared” – and that this development would form part of the second season’s plot.

In an official statement, Leslie said “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.” This touches on a salient point – as Batwoman had been written as a lesbian, there was a great deal of speculation on whether the casting choices should reflect this. (Alarmingly, Rose, who herself identifies as a lesbian, had been criticised as ‘not gay enough‘ by the more rabid type of fan.) It would seem that the show is doubling down, so to speak, by casting an actor who is both a racial and sexual minority. Whatever the rationale, it is nonetheless an example of positive representation for these groups.

Rose took to Instagram to congratulate her successor:

Warner Bros. issued the following character synopsis: “Ryan Wilder is about to become Batwoman. 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. Today Ryan lives in her van with her plant. A girl who would steal milk for an alley cat and 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.”

Most remarkably, Ryan Wilder is not a pre-existing DC character, so will in fact be treading new ground, rather than clinging resolutely to the comic books and established properties on which both DC and Marvel’s film wings remain completely dependent.

The second season of Batwoman is set to premiere in January 2021.

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