'Batwoman' Casts Javicia Leslie To Replace Ruby Rose As The Series Lead

Gotham City has a new Caped Crusader in town. God Friended Me actress Javicia Leslie has been cast as the new Batwoman lead, replacing Ruby Rose's Kate Kane in season 2 of the CW series. Leslie, who will be the first Black actress to ever portray Batwoman in live-action, will be playing a new character named Ryan Wilder.

Warner Bros. Television, The CW, and Berlanti Productions announced Wednesday that Javicia Leslie has been cast as the new Batwoman.

Leslie, who starred for two seasons on the CBS drama series God Friended Me, the BET drama The Family Business, as well as the feature film Always a Bridesmaid, is the first Black actress to play Batwoman in a live-action TV or film production. This is the second time that Batwoman would break new ground as a superhero series, as the series made history with Rose as the first LGBTQ superhero to lead a network TV show. Leslie also hails from the LGBTQ community, an aspect that The CW wanted to maintain with its new Batwoman lead. Leslie said in a statement following her casting announcement:

"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 will don the cape and cowl when Batwoman returns to The CW for its second season in January 2021, airing Sundays. She will be playing Ryan Wilder, a new character created for the show following Rose's surprise departure from the series. Showrunner Caroline Dries explained why the series decided against going the "soap opera" casting route of having a different actress play the same role originated by Rose, and instead created a new character, saying, "upon further reflection — and I think [Arrowverse EP] Greg [Berlanti] helped me make this call — he's like, 'I think we should just reboot Batwoman as a different character.'"

Dries added that this new character, who has been forced to live in a van with only a plant to keep her company, "is maybe not the right person at the time to be doing it, so that's what makes it fun."

Here is the character description for Ryan Wilder:

Ryan Wilder is about to become Batwoman. She's 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.

There are no details yet about how the series will write Ruby Rose's Kate Kane off the show, though we know she won't be killed offBatwoman is produced by Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.