Warner Bros. TV announced Wednesday that Javicia Leslie will replace Ruby Rose as the series lead in Season 2 of The CW series Batwoman. Leslie will be the first Black actress to portray the Caped Crusader in live-action television or film.
"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, per Deadline.
Following Rose's unexpected departure after just one season due to the long hours on set, producers promised to cast another LGBTQ actor as the new Batwoman after breaking ground as the first superhero TV series ever to have an out LGBTQ character in the leading role.
Leslie will play Ryan Wilder, who is described in her official character synopsis as "likable, messy, a little goofy and untamed," but also a "highly skilled and wildly undisciplined" fighter. Wilder spent years as a drug-runner, but currently lives in her van with her plant. "An out lesbian. Athletic. Raw. Passionate. Fallible. And very much not your stereotypical all-American hero," the synopsis reads.
Collider notes that Wilder, who will be nothing like Rose's character, Kate Kane, is not an existing DC Comics character. "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," Batwoman showrunner and executive producer Caroline Dries said, adding that she wanted a new lead with a blank slate to "respect everything that Ruby put into the Kate Kane character," and avoid having to address her exit to the audience.
Leslie previously starred in the CBS comedy series God Friended Me, and the Yvette Nicole Brown-written Netflix film Always a Bridesmaid.
Ruby Rose took to IG to congratulate Leslie on getting the TV role, writing, "OMG!! This is amazing!!." Rose continued, "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 !!"
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 !! ❤️
A post shared by Ruby Rose (@rubyrose) on Jul 8, 2020 at 3:35pm PDT