Javicia Leslie (God Friended Me, Always a Bridesmaid) will play Batwoman in the second season of the CW’s series, Batwoman, per CNN. She will be the first black woman to ever play the role of Batwoman and will replace Ruby Rose (Orange is the New Black, John Wick: Chapter 2), who left the show shortly after the airing of season 1 for reasons not released to the public.
While Leslie is replacing Rose as Batwoman, they will technically be playing different characters. Rose played Katy Kane, an iteration of the role that was very close in nature to the original Batwoman. Leslie, however, will portray a different and new version of the character. Leslie’s version of Batwoman will be named Ryan Wilder, a lesbian woman who is “likeable, messy, a little goofy and untamed” (CNN). As of yet, it is unclear how the writers of the show will navigate the switch of the role of Batwoman between characters.
In a statement concerning the role, Leslie said, “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” (People). The fact that such a widely loved DC Comics character will be both black and lesbian marks a significant step for minority representation in television, especially in shows about superheroes where strong and influential characters have been mostly heterosexual white men.
Batwoman is developed by Caroline Dries (producer, The Vampire Diaries; writer, Smallville) and is executive produced by Dries, Greg Berlanti (director, Love Simon; producer, The Flash), Sarah Schechter (producer, Black Lightning; producer, The Flash), Geoff Johns (writer, The Flash; writer, Aquaman), David Nutter (director, Game of Thrones; director, The Pacific), and Marcos Siega (director, Dexter; producer, The Following). The show will return with its second season in 2021, when the coronavirus pandemic will not be expected to hinder production.