Javicia Leslie Is the New Batwoman and the 1st Black Actor to Portray the Superhero in Live-Action TV or Film

Javicia Leslie attends the “Bombshell” New York Screening on December 16, 2019, in New York City.
Javicia Leslie attends the “Bombshell” New York Screening on December 16, 2019, in New York City.
Photo: John Lamparski (Getty Images)

We have a new Batwoman, y’all—and she’s Black and beautiful!

Back in May after Ruby Rose stepped down from the titular role in the CW series (to much surprise), fans wondered who would be stepping in. Well, the wait is over and actor Javicia Leslie (God Friended Me, Always A Bridesmaid) will be filling that coveted spot! With her casting, Leslie becomes the first Black actor to portray Batwoman in a scripted live-action TV series or film.

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“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 in a statement.

Variety breaks down the series synopsis, which will switch up a bit with Leslie’s casting:

Leslie will portray a new character on the show named Ryan Wilder. She is described as likable, messy, a little goofy and untamed. She’s also nothing like Kate Kane (previously played by Ruby Rose), 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. She is an out lesbian, athletic, raw, passionate, fallible, and very much not your stereotypical All-American hero.

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Speaking of Rose, the former Batwoman happily passed the torch to Leslie, showing support on her Instagram page with, “This is amazing!! I am so glad Batwoman will be played by an amazing Black woman. I want to congratulate Javicia Leslie on taking over the bat cape. You are walking into an amazing cast and crew. I can’t wait to watch season 2 you are going to be amazing!!”

Of course, Black Twitter was thrilled with the news and also noted how important it was that Leslie is protected by the studios and that the writers’ room reflect the fact that this Batwoman is a Black woman.

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This is also exciting because we could be looking forward to a Black girl takeover in the Batman lore, as speculation of a Black Batgirl particularly heated up when Jeffrey Wright was confirmed to portray Commissioner Gordon in the upcoming flick The Batman (the release date has been pushed to October 1, 2021, due to the global pandemic). Earlier reports speculated that Jayme Lawson would be cast as Batgirl, but when principal photography began in January of this year, Business Wire noted that Lawson will be portraying “mayoral candidate Bella Reál.” So, while we still don’t know the actress who could potentially portray the Commissioner’s daughter, Barbara Gordon (who eventually becomes Batgirl), we still think there’s a good possibility that she’ll be Black!

But, enough speculation for now; I’m celebrating this recent news! Yes, so happy for Leslie and am looking forward to how she kicks ass in her new TV role!! As for when you should expect to see the stunning actor on your TV screens for some action-packed fun, Batwoman is expected to return for its second season in January and will air on Sunday nights on The CW.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.

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Will fanboys lose their shit over a black woman as batwoman? Tune in next week, same bat-time, same bat-channel.