Last months, fans of The CW’s Batwoman learned that, not only would lead actress Ruby Rose not be returning to the series, but neither would Kate Kane, as the series would introduce a new character to take up the mantle of the bat. The network has now landed on its new lead, as actress Javicia Leslie has been cast as new character Ryan Wilder, who will reportedly become the new Batwoman early in the show’s second season.
Leslie, best known for her starring role on the CBS series God Friended Me (which, like Batwoman, is produced by Greg Berlanti), will be the first woman of color to portray Batwoman, and the second POC to headline a CW DC Superhero series after Cress Williams‘s Black Lightning. Leslie is also bisexual, continuing the tradition of casting a queer woman in the role of out lesbian Kate Kane.
In a statement, Leslie expressed her excitement at joining the CW series:
“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.
Likewise, on Instagram, Leslie said she hopes her casting as Batwoman acts as an inspiration for young Black girls:
Former Batwoman Rose also congratulated Leslie on her casting:
According to initial reports, the character of Ryan Wilder was described in a leaked casting call as a former drug runner, an undisciplined fighter, and “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.”
I’m still not entirely convinced that we’ve seen the last of Kate Kane, considering the mystery of her disappearance will apparently be a key plot point of the new season of Batwoman. Still, casting Leslie as Ryan Wilder seems like an indication that this new character won’t be going anywhere any time soon, and it may be some time before (a presumably recast) Kate Kane returns to Gotham.
Batwoman is currently scheduled to return for its second season on The CW in January 2021.