It's been a little over a year since Javicia Leslie first made her onscreen debut as Ryan Wilder, the newest incarnation of Batwoman on The CW's hit series of the same name. During her tenure on Batwoman, Leslie has become regarded by fans as a superhero both on and off the screen, both through her acting and her charity work. The actress' latest partnership is with Puffs Tissues, which is using its Puffs Power Pals campaign to spread joy to children at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center during cold and flu season. Leslie has been working with the campaign to virtually visit with children at the hospital and induct them into the Puffs Power Pals, a team of superheroes complete with personalized comic book covers and a "superhero kit."
In conjunction with the Puffs Power Pals campaign, ComicBook.com got a chance to chat with Leslie about her work on the campaign, as well as the biggest narrative bombshells tied to Season 3 of Batwoman. We also spoke about her reaction to Ryan appearing in the upcoming Earth-Prime comic book series, and so much more!
ComicBook.com: To start off, I was wondering if you could tell me about the Puffs campaign and how you got involved, because it just sounds like such an awesome cause.
Javicia Leslie: It's so amazing. First of all, to be able to speak to all of these children at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital — to encourage them to stay strong, to encourage them to be brave, to keep smiling. To remind them about the superhero that lives within them, that they are superheroes, that they have their own cape. It's been so much fun. I feel like this is one of those opportunities that literally gravitated towards me, because it's in alignment with my journey. I want to be able to connect what I do for a living with what I love to do. I love to do what I do for a living, but other things. Specifically, working with children, that's something that's very personal for me. I have my own charity where I specifically work with children. So when Puffs came to me with this idea, I felt like it was absolutely amazing and it was absolutely aligned.prevnext
Talking about your work and Batwoman in general, your one-year anniversary of playing Ryan happened recently, and the Twitter trends and all the people showing you love was so amazing to see. What was that like for you?
First of all, I didn't even know it was a year. I was minding my own business, and two days later, I realized [it]. I posted a picture and someone said, "You should check Twitter." I checked Twitter and there were all of these, "Happy Batversary to Ryan Wilder," and it was so amazing. And it's super cool, because as you know, I'm super inspired by my lovely Eartha Kitt. And what I never realized was her birthday was my Batversary. Isn't that crazy?
Come on, God. What he doing? Anyway, it was just amazing. It's amazing to see how much Ryan has done in just a year, and how much she means to so many people. To me, obviously, but [also] to so many people. And I got to meet so many really cool fans when I did my first convention a few weeks ago in New Orleans. It was cool, because a lot of the fans I had met on Twitter, so to be able to meet them in person, and spend time exchanging energy with them and talk to them, it's been epic. This has felt very surreal and very... I don't know. I'm always just humbled by it, and honored by it. Every time I meet fans, it's like, "You're a fan of something that I do? What? Okay, this is cool. I'm a fan of you, but okay. Cool."prevnext
Kind of going off of that, what would you say has surprised you the most across this year of playing Ryan?
I think the fans surprised me the most, honestly. I've done other projects, but I think superhero fans are completely different. And this, specifically, is different because this hasn't been done yet. So the fans are unique. They're special. They're hardcore because they feel represented. They're ride or die. I remember when I first started this, I was scared, because I knew that we were entering a world that hadn't really seen this yet, and I was worried that the original fans were going to be upset about the shift and the change. And don't get me wrong, there were a few that were. But it was weird, because a lot stayed, and more came on. And then it became this beautiful mix where it wasn't about race. It wasn't about this, it wasn't about that. It was just about this dope character, this badass character, this flawed character. You know? And to be a part of that has been so much fun.prevnext
The family dynamic between Ryan, Jada, and Marquis across Season 3 has been so much fun and so unexpected. What can you tease about how that develops across the rest of the season?
I think, going in to the rest of this season, it's a lot of mixed emotions for Ryan. Because she has the Bat Team, which, for her, has been her family for two seasons, however long that is in the world of Batwoman. It's her first time finding a family, and they always say "Your friends are the family that you choose." So to have the loyalty to Mary and Luke and Sophie, but now be challenged with the loyalty of that and the loyalty of her blood relatives, it creates so much conflict.
Season three has been so much fun and so epic, because there's a layer that I didn't even know, when I got cast, I would ever end up dealing with. When I was cast, she did not have a family. So now, there are layers that I get to play with that I never thought I was going to get to play with. But it's also very conflicting, because [Ryan] created a family and that's the family I've dived into, and now all of a sudden, there's a real family and [she doesn't] know who [she trusts]. I think she's confused. She's so confused. I still don't know if I could trust Jada. Marquis is ruining my life. Mary went off and became Poison Ivy. Luke can't get his suit to work right. Everything is a hot mess! So this season's been a lot of fun.prevnext
Ryan and Mary
Now that Mary is on the other side of her Poison Ivy journey, how do you think Ryan and her relationship with Mary is going to be changed by that whole experience?
I think Ryan's going to learn never to take Mary for granted again. That's the biggest thing. When people that you love feel like that you don't see them, that's the point. We're in this connected. We're all interconnected. I know there's a lot going on with Ryan in her life, but you have to take the time and see the people that you love, and see them, feel it. There was something wrong the entire time, and she had been trying to explain that to her, and she never got the chance to tell her.prevnext
Recently, it was announced that Ryan is going to suit up in the Earth-Prime comic series with all of the other shows. I was curious your reaction to that. And also, since some of your cast members have written comics — is that something you would ever be interested in doing?
I would love to do it. If I had the opportunity, or if I get the opportunity, yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes!
And then how epic is it about to be that our Batwoman, her first comic book appearance is about to happen? Ryan has appeared in the comic books, but not as Batwoman. And I'm really, really excited to see our black Batwoman in the comic books for the first time.