Meet your new Batwoman.
EW has learned that God Friended Me‘s Javicia Leslie has been cast as the Crimson Knight on the CW’s Batwoman. The first Black actress to play the DC Comics heroine in live-action, Leslie is stepping into the void left by Ruby Rose, who portrayed Batwoman/Kate Kane and exited the series at the end of season 1.
“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.
As EW previously reported, the new Batwoman’s civilian alter ego is named Ryan Wilder and is the complete opposite of Rose’s Kate. Here’s the official character description: “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.” As of right now, it appears as though Ryan is an original character and doesn’t have an analogue in the comics.
Even though someone new is stepping picking up the Batwoman mantle, the Warner Bros. TV series won’t forget about Kate Kane — which showrunner Caroline Dries made clear after news broke that the show was going to introduce a new character instead of recasting Rose’s part.
“As a lesbian who’s been working as a writer for the past fifteen years, I’m well aware of the “Bury Your Gays” trope and I have no interest in participating in it,” Dries said in a statement. “That’s why it’s important to me as the showrunner to clarify any misinformation out there about Kate Kane and recasting Batwoman. Like you, I love Kate Kane — she’s the reason I wanted to do the show. We’ll never erase her. In fact, her disappearance will be one of the mysteries of season two. I don’t want to give away any of our surprises, but to all our devoted fans, please know that LGBTQ+ justice is at the very core of what Batwoman is and we have no intention of abandoning that.”
In addition to starring on God Friended Me, Leslie’s previous credits include BET’s The Family Business, MacGyver, and the film Always a Bridesmaid.
Batwoman is expected to return in January on the CW.