(WM) Actress Javicia Leslie has been tapped by The CW to play the new lead character of the GLAAD Media-nominated “Batwoman,” officially replacing the character played by actress Ruby Rose in the show’s debut season.
On July 8, Warner Bros. TV encouraged viewers to “[s]ay hello to the new Batwoman” in a tweet that formally announced that Leslie had been cast to play the title character in the show.
Leslie is set to portray the character of Ryan Wilder, an “[a]thletic[,] [r]aw[,] [p]assionate and [f]allible” out-lesbian with a difficult past.
“Ryan spent years as a drug-runner, dodging the Gotham City PD and masking her pain with bad habits,” a casting call for the character states.
According to Rotten Tomatoes, Leslie is the first Black actress to play Batwoman in a live-action television adaptation of the character. This, coupled with the fact that Leslie is also a member of the LGBT community, makes this moment in her career especially poignant for her.
“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.
This instance of inclusive media representation is not lost on fans, who took to Twitter to share their thoughts on Leslie’s casting. LGBT organizations GLAAD and the National Center for Lesbian Rights also acknowledged the significance of Leslie’s casting by sharing the news on their Twitter profiles.
The CW’s decision to recast Batwoman and create a new protagonist was prompted by Rose’s exit from the series in May.
“I have made the very difficult decision to not return to ‘Batwoman’ next season,” Rose said at the time. “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 in Los Angeles.”
Leslie has previously appeared on the CBS dramedy “God Friended Me” and the BET crime drama “The Family Business.” The second season of “Batwoman” is expected to air on The CW in January 2021.