The new star of The CW’s Batwoman has been chosen: God Friended Me veteran Javicia Leslie.
According to Deadline, Leslie will play Ryan Wilder, a character rumored for some time to take the place of Kate Kane (Ruby Rose) as both the lead character in the program and as Batwoman. The character, while a new creation for the series, will maintain Batwoman’s ties to the LGBTQIA community as an out lesbian. The most recent character breakdown also describes her as “likable, messy, a little goofy and untamed” and as “a girl who would steal milk for an alley cat and could also kill you with her bare hands.” She has some experience running from the Gotham City Police as a “drug-runner.” But now living out of her van, a chance encounter will put her under Batwoman’s cowl.
“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,” the actor said in a statement.
Executive producer and showrunner Caroline Dries‘s decision to create a character out of whole cloth instead of recast Kate Kane has been met with plenty of criticism. For her part, Dries said her intention was to “respect everything that Ruby put into the Kate Kane character” and give the audience the seemingly most plausible reason for a new Batwoman. Of course, in a world like the Arrowverse’s Earth-Prime, there are plenty of not-so-plausible reasons Leslie could become Kate Kane that the audience would still readily accept. Additionally, we’re not too thrilled with Wilder being a former drug-runner and, essentially, homeless. The stereotypes make for easy mistakes with the character.
Nonetheless, this is the future for Batwoman and it will be interesting to see how it resolves the first season’s cliffhanger without Rose reprising her role. The actor quit the series after the season finale aired. Reportedly, living far from home and the long grind of a weekly series took its toll on the actor; who never before starred in a series. Having been on the sets of various superhero shows for just one day, we totally understand how taxing the work can actually be. Nevertheless, we’re assuming she will not be around to pass the cowl to Leslie’s Wilder; which will make that first Season 2 episode a must-watch no matter what.
Batwoman returns to The CW in 2021.