Batwoman got a major status quo change on Wednesday, when it was announced that Javicia Leslie has been cast as the series' new star going into Season 2. Leslie will be taking over the series' superhero role from Ruby Rose, who departed the show shortly after the season finale earlier this year. Fans have already had a pretty profound reaction to Leslie taking on the role, with many acknowledging the significance of a Black, openly bisexual actress playing such a beloved character. Leslie echoed that sentiment in a post on her Instagram account, sharing screenshots of the announcement with the caption "for all of the little black girls dreaming to be a superhero one day... it’s possible!"
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Leslie, who is known for her roles on God Friended Me and The Family Business, will be portraying an entirely new character named Ryan Wilder. Ryan is described 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. 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.
“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 when the casting was first announced.
The question of who would take on Batwoman's cape and cowl has plagued fans for months, with many speculating that the series would just recast Rose's Kate Kane entirely. As showrunner Caroline Dries put it, the choice to craft an entirely new character came about in an unexpected way.
"To be honest with you, I did consider the soap opera version for a hot minute, selfishly, because we had a couple episodes already written, and transition-wise, it would be seamless [since] we already started breaking season 2," Dries said in an interview last month. "But upon further reflection, and [Arrowverse producer] Greg [Berlanti] helped me make this call and he's way smarter than me about this sort of stuff, he's like, 'You know, I think we should just reboot the character in terms of reboot Batwoman as a different character.' Just to also respect everything that Ruby [Rose] put into the Kate Kane character."
Batwoman is scheduled to return with new episodes in January of 2021.