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Who Is Javicia Leslie? The CW's New 'Batwoman' Is Making History

The DC Comics films have had a rocky ride on the big screen. But the comic book franchise's adaptations on The CW have done pretty well for themselves. Referred to in the fandom as "The Arrowverse," the collective includes six interconnected series, with a seventh (Superman & Lois) on the way. But not all the shows have had smooth sailing. Batwoman, which premiered earlier in 2020, hit a speed bump when the actor who played the titular character, Ruby Rose, decided she would not continue past Season 1. Luckily, her replacement is a worthy successor to the cowl. So, who is Javicia Leslie, aka The CW's new Batwoman?

When Rose announced she was departing the series, the fandom was in shock. Most shows like this lock in their lead actors for multiple years, and it was not clear exactly why she was leaving. Furthermore, the production announced Rose's role, Kate Kane, would not be recast. Instead, a new character would arrive at the top of Season 2 and take up Batwoman's mantle. This upset fans who felt the show wasn't being creative about the change; Season 1 featured a plot in which characters were having their faces replaced with new ones. Recasting a new actor as Kane would, in a hilarious coincidence, fit nicely into the current storyline.

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However, fans now have plenty to be excited about. On July 8, Warner Bros. announced the next season of Batwoman would star Javicia Leslie as a new character named Ryan Wilder.

With the Batwoman casting, Leslie is the first Black woman to play the titular role on TV or in a movie. According to Variety, she said of her new job:

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's character Ryan is described as the "polar opposite" of Rose's Kate. According to a press release from Warner Bros. obtained by Elite Daily:

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. She is an out lesbian, athletic, raw, passionate, fallible, and very much not your stereotypical All-American hero.

This may not be the first time you're seeing Leslie onscreen. In 2018, she starred in both CBS' God Friended Me and BET's Family Business, based on Carl Weber's book series. (Leslie also starred in the Family Business film in 2017, based on the same series.) God Friended Me is canceled, but Family Business just released Season 2, and if Season 3 is greenlit, Leslie will find herself juggling two shows.

Batwoman is currently scheduled to return to The CW for Season 2 in 2021.