Warner Bros. announced on Thursday that Javicia Leslie will take on the mantle of Batwoman, following the departure of Ruby Rose at the end of the show’s first season.
WB said that Leslie will be taking over the titular role when Batwoman returns to The CW in January 2021. Following her casting, Leslie becomes the first black actress who will be portraying the iconic role 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 in a statement.
Leslie is set to portray a new character in the show named Ryan Wilder. WB described her 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,” WB explained.
Before her stint as Batwoman, Leslie appeared on God Friended Me and The Family Business as well as the feature film Always a Bridesmaid.
After the announcement of a new lead for the DC series, Rose in an Instagram post, praised the casting of Leslie as the next Batwoman.
“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,” Rose said.
Series showrunner Caroline Dries earlier said that a new identity will take on the cowl and cape of Batwoman instead of recasting Kate Kane previously played by Rose. Dries made the announcement to debunk rumors that the first season heroine will be killed off the show.
“Like you, I love Kate Kane — she’s the reason I wanted to do the show. We’ll never erase her,” Dries said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
In a shocking move, Rose announced her abrupt departure from The CW’s action-adventure series in May.
“I have made the very difficult decision to not return to Batwoman next season,” Rose said in a statement.