Javicia Leslie has been cast as the new Batwoman, succeeding Ruby Rose who exited the role after the end of Season 1.
Leslie, confirmed to play a new character named Ryan Wilder, will make her debut in the iconic cape and cowl when Batwoman returns to the CW for its second season in January.
Warner Bros. Television, the CW and Berlanti Productions announced Wednesday that Javicia Leslie has been cast as the new series lead of “Batwoman.”
Her casting makes her the first Black actress to portray Batwoman in a live-action production. Similarly, Ryan will be the first Black character to become the caped vigilante in any medium.
“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.
Batwoman premiered last fall as the first superhero series in television history to feature an avowed LGBTQ character as the central character. Following Rose’s departure, the producers vowed to cast another LGBTQ actor in the role.
Leslie will play a new character in the title role who will succeed Rose’s Kate Kane. Leslie will portray Ryan Wilder who 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 also could 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.
Leslie’s credits also include BET drama series The Family Business, as well as the feature Always a Bridesmaid. She is repped by Toni Benson at Thirdhill Entertainment, and Stewart Talent.
Batwoman is produced by Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. Caroline Dries developed the series and served as executive producer for Season 1 with Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter and Geoff Johns. Batwoman is based on characters created for DC by Bob Kane with Bill Finger.
“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,” Dries recently said of the decision to introduce a new Batwoman character, adding that rebooting Batwoman as a different character allows the show to “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.”