Javicia Leslie Becomes the First Black Actor to Play Batwoman

Jessica Davis
Photo credit: Leon Bennett - Getty Images
Photo credit: Leon Bennett - Getty Images

From Harper's BAZAAR

Javicia Leslie has been cast as the first Black actor to play Batwoman.

She will star as a new character, Ryan Wilder, taking over from Ruby Rose, who left after only one season of playing Kate Kane.

“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,” she said in a statement.

Photo credit: John Lamparski - Getty Images
Photo credit: John Lamparski - Getty Images

According to the Hollywood Reporter, when Rose was cast, Batwoman became “the first first scripted live-action TV series to feature a lesbian superhero at the top of the call sheet,” and showrunner Caroline Dries and executive producer Greg Berlanti didn't then want a straight actor to take over the character.

Leslie's Ryan Wilder is described as a highly skilled fighter who's "likable, messy, a little goofy and untamed." She's also "an out lesbian. Athletic. Raw. Passionate. Fallible. And very much not your stereotypical All-American hero."

Photo credit: Jamie McCarthy - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jamie McCarthy - Getty Images

In May, Rose announced she was leaving the series, explaining in a statement: “I have made the very difficult decision to not return to Batwoman next season.”

“This was not a decision I made lightly as I have the utmost respect for the cast, crew and everyone involved with the show in both Vancouver and Los Angeles.”

It was suggested that she was unhappy with the long hours on set and having to live in Vancouver, but Rose has not commented.

Leslie previously appeared in two seasons of the series God Friended Me. She was also in the 2019 film Always a Bridesmaid and appeared in the BET series The Family Business.

Season two of Batwoman is expected to premiere early next year.

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