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Javicia Leslie Becomes New Lead in The CW’s ‘Batwoman’

Actress Javicia Leslie has been cast as the new lead in The CW’s latest addition to the Arrowverse, Batwoman. Leslie is best known for her work on CBS’s God Friended Me, also a Warner Bros. Television and Berlanti Production, but she has also played roles in BET’s Always a Bridesmaid and The Family Business.

This news comes only two months after Ruby Rose left the show that had just been recently renewed for a second season. Rose played Kate Kane, a strong, no-nonsense lesbian who follows her cousin Bruce Wayne’s example and becomes a vigilante, aptly calling herself Batwoman.

“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.

Javicia Leslie - Batwoman
Javicia Leslie (Photo courtesy of Jeff Riedell/Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.)

Leslie will play a different Batwoman, Ryan Wilder. Unlike Kane before her, Wilder can take a joke and is a loose cannon with a criminal record and no money. But she’s just like her predecessor where it counts: she’s a scary lesbian who can kick ass.

When asked why they decided to create a new character, developer and co-executive producer Caroline Dries credited producer and Arrowverse co-creator Greg Berlanti, “[Berlanti said] we should just reboot the character in terms of reboot Batwoman as a different character, and also respect everything that Ruby put into the Kate Kane character. And I just think it helps the audience a little bit too, that we are not asking them to not address the elephant in the room.”

Dries added, “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.”

Editorial: Leslie’s casting is a rather overdue victory for the positive representation of the Black and queer communities. Last month was Pride Month, and the Black Lives Matter movement is as powerful as ever after recent footage of heinous police brutality spurred people to join the fight against racial injustice. While the casting certainly doesn’t fix these problems, it means a lot for Black and queer people to see themselves on screen, especially as heroes. Fans, even Rose herself, have taken to social media to express their excitement for the new lead.

Batwoman is scheduled to return with a second season next January.

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