Gotham is about to get an all new hero.
Warner Bros. Television, The CW and Berlanti Productions announced today that Javicia Leslie has been cast as the all new Batwoman, inheriting the cowl from season one star Ruby Rose. Leslie won’t be replacing Rose as Kate Kane, but rather will be playing an all-new, wholly original character named Ryan Wilder who find herself taking on the mantle of Batwoman when the series returns for its second season. In doing so, Leslie will become the first Black actress to portray the character in a live-action television or film production.
“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.
Leslie’s no stranger to small screen, having just wrapped a two-season role on the CBS drama, God Friended Me. She’s also appeared on CBS’s MacGyver and BET’s The Family Business. Batwoman, however, will be her first foray into superhero or comic book fare.
While there’s no comic book counterpart for Wilder and we likely won’t get an idea of what we can expect from her until she makes her Batwoman debut, the description of the character makes it clear that she’s about as different from Kate Kane as you can get. Described as likable, messy, a little goofy and untamed. Ryan spent years as a drug-runner, dodging the GCPD and masking her pain with bad habits. Today, she 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.
Batwoman made its CW debut last fall as the newest show to join the network’s “Arrowverse,” the shared universe of DCTV shows that kicked off in 2012 with Arrow. Based on the iconic Gotham-based LGBTQ+ character who finds herself taking on the identity of a vigilante after being discharged from the military for engaging in a secret lesbian relationship, the show’s first season largely focused on the dynamic between Kate Kane, her villainous sister Alice, and their father Jacob. That will almost certainly change for the show’s second season, but in creating a new character, the producers have blown the door open creatively for what we might see when it returns. Will Ryan be battling against known villains? Brand new never-before-seen ones? The GCPD and Jacob Kane’s Crows? And how will she be viewed by the other heroes of the Arrowverse?
At this point, anything is possible, so go on ahead and share your thoughts and predictions on Facebook and Twitter, and be sure to keep an eye on our official Batwoman page for all the latest news on Gotham's newest protector.