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New Batwoman Javicia Leslie on breaking barriers and which politician would make a great onscreen villain

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Season 2 of Batwoman stars a new face as its titular superheroine. After the departure of Ruby Rose, Javicia Leslie is suiting up as Gotham's new masked vigilante. Leslie recently spoke with Yahoo Entertainment about what it means to be the first Black performer in live action to wear the Batsuit.

"It's an honor," she said. "And I've watched pretty much every iteration of Batman and I never would have imagined a person of color wearing the suit, let alone me wearing the suit."

Stacey Abrams, former George House Democratic Leader, is a longtime fan of CW shows. And Leslie thinks she should make an appearance on Batwoman. "Let's let's suit her up as an anti-hero," she said with a laugh.

Video Transcript

- Time to be powerful.

- I met the new girl. She's going to be a handful.

ETHAN ALTER: Well, obviously, the big news. You're the first Black performer in live action to ever wear the batsuit, either Batman or Batwoman or a Batgirl or a Robin. That's a history-making moment right there. What is it like for you to be part of that and making history?

JAVICIA LESLIE: It's an honor. I grew up watching Batman. You know, like that was a huge part of my childhood. And I've watched pretty much every iteration of Batman. You know, one, I don't feel like I would have imagined a person of color wearing the suit, let alone me wearing the suit. It's really an honor, and I just hope that it opens up the door for so much more diversity in this amazing franchise.

ETHAN ALTER: Have you thought about, thinking of young girls at home watching it and seeing you in that suit, and what it will mean for them? What do you hope they think when they see it?

JAVICIA LESLIE: Definitely. I want them to see themselves. I think that it's very important to finally be able to look on a screen and seeing someone wear something so iconic like the batsuit, and seeing yourself. Seeing your hair texture, seeing your skin color, seeing your body type. And I think that's important, that's a beginning. You know, let this just open up doors. I wish, when I was younger, that I could've saw, you know, more women of color playing superhero roles. I think we're moving into a day and age where you're really being able to see real, true representation in those realms of sci-fi and comic books.

ETHAN ALTER: And especially in light of real-world events. I mean, imagine sort of being a Black woman in a position of superhero authority now. So interesting coming off a year filled with Black Lives Matter protests and protests over Breonna Taylor and what happened to her. So this is a really-- this is a moment, I think, to really step up and be represented that way as someone powerful on screen.

JAVICIA LESLIE: You know, obviously we have a lot of unfinished business from last season that has to first be addressed before we can really go into unlayering Ryan Wilder. But to be able to see a Black woman in this capacity, really in the world of Gotham, deal with everything that comes with Gotham, I think it's going to be a fun journey, and very representative of what's going on in society right now.

ETHAN ALTER: At the end of last season, we saw the sort of law enforcement in Gotham turn against Batwoman. So Ryan is starting from a place where Batwoman is on the the outs with law enforcement. And that's a really provocative place to start with, being a vigilante a Black vigilante in today's landscape fighting law enforcement. How do you hope that sort of evolves over the season?

JAVICIA LESLIE: I love the fact that I don't know. You know? We haven't gotten to that part yet in the season for me to really know where it evolves. We've started, definitely we've teased it. I think any time you're looking at a policing situation, right? There has to be a moment where the citizens check them and they have to be held accountable. And I think that a part of Ryan's journey is to show, you know, the Crows that they have not been held accountable for a lot of their actions, that I even witnessed in the first season. I'm watching the first season like, wait, they can do that? You know, and I love that they're addressing it in this season.

ETHAN ALTER: Along with all the people who are rooting for you to succeed, there are obviously the sort of online trolls who are rooting for failure, unfortunately. And there's always that aspect of it. What do you have to say to them? I mean, do you think about them? Or what do you hope? Do you hope they tune in to see it?

JAVICIA LESLIE: I think that that's something that they have to work on within themselves, to have such a negative energy towards something that they haven't even allowed to exist yet. I think that people are going through a lot of pain, and they don't know how to-- they don't know how to express themselves. And unfortunately, that is how some people express themselves. I would love for us to-- for that to just completely go away, but it won't because we live in a society where, you know, pain management is a very difficult thing to process.

ETHAN ALTER: We know from Twitter that real-life hero Stacey Abrams is a huge fan of shows like "Supernatural" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Can we start a campaign now to get her on "Batwoman"? Would you like to have--

JAVICIA LESLIE: She already is! She was very supportive. She shouted us out. So shout-out to Stacey Abrams. I think she's going to love this season, and yeah, I hope we make her proud.

ETHAN ALTER: Would you love to have her on the show? Like would you like to--

JAVICIA LESLIE: Of course! What do you mean? Yeah!

ETHAN ALTER: What character do you think she should play? Should she play herself, or would you want her to, like, suit up as a hero on-screen, too?

JAVICIA LESLIE: Let's suit her up as a hero. Let's-- or how about this? Let's set up as an anti-hero. That would be fun. Little supervillain.

ETHAN ALTER: Excellent. I think we have to make this happen. This sounds like something--

JAVICIA LESLIE: I think we should, I think we should. We should go through the comics, find one that we want to bring to Gotham this season, and go ahead and suit her up. And don't even reveal it's her. Like, go a while before we take off the mask and see that it's her.