In a surprising announcement, Javicia Leslie has been cast as the CW's new Batwoman. The actress, who previously starred in God Friended Me on CBS, is set to debut in the iconic role in January 2021. Leslie replaces Ruby Rose, who left the show in May after one season in a shocking move. The actress' character of Ryan Wilder, who will don the cape and cowl, is a lesbian, as was Rose's Batwoman. Javicia also becomes the first Black actress to play the iconic role.
“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 said in a statement.
Leslie acknowledged the announcement in an Instagram post a s well and wrote, "For all of the little black girls dreaming to be a superhero one day... it’s possible!"
Rose expressed delight at Leslie's casting in her own Instagram post as she wrote, "OMG!! This is amazing!! I am so glad Batwoman will be played by an amazing Black woman. I want to congratulate Javicia Leslie on taking over the bat cape. You are walking into an amazing cast and crew. I can’t wait to watch season 2 you are going to be amazing!!"
Rose played Kate Kane and her superhero alter ego, Batwoman, during the first season of the series, produced by Warner Bros. Television and Berlanti Productions. News broke of her exit in May when she thanked cast, crew, and producers in an Instagram post without detailing why she was leaving: "It wasn’t an easy decision but those who know, know," Rose wrote, "I didn’t want to not acknowledge everyone involved and how big this was for TV and for our community."
Thank you everyone for coming on this journey. If I mentioned everyone it would be 1000 tags.. but Thank you to the cast, crew, producers and studio. It wasn’t an easy decision but those who know, know.. I didn’t want to not acknowledge everyone involved and how big this was for TV and for our community. I have stayed silent because that’s my choice for now but know I adore you all. I’m sure next season will be amazing also. Xxx *hangs up cowl and cape. Also @mysmarvel
Although Leslie will now portray the superhero, her character arrives as Ryan Wilder, described in Wednesday's announcement as "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."