The CW has officially found its newest Batwoman. On Wednesday, it was revealed that Javicia Leslie, best known for her role on God Friended Me, will be playing the new iteration of Batwoman going into Season 2. Leslie will be replacing Ruby Rose, who stepped away from her role as Kate Kane earlier this year. In a 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."
Leslie will portray Ryan Wilder, a character whose arrival on the show has been rumored about for months. Ryan, who will make her debut in the Season 2 premiere this January, 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.
In addition to God Friended Me, Leslie is known for her roles on the BET drama The Family Business, as well as the film Always a Bridesmaid.
Rose's exit was initially announced shortly after the Season 1 finale, with the creative team behind the show confirming that they would bring in an entirely new character, as opposed to recasting the role of Kate Kane.
"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," showrunner Caroline Dries said in an interview last month. "But upon further reflection, and Greg 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."
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Batwoman is scheduled to return with new episodes in January of 2021.