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Batwoman Casts Javicia Leslie As New Lead

After Ruby Rose‘s surprise exit from Batwoman this past May, The CW has found another actor to step into the superhero suit. Javicia Leslie will star as the new series lead in Batwomanmaking her the first Black actress to play the role in TV or film.

The CW announced soon after Rose’s exit that the show would replace her character, Kate Kane, with a new lead for Season 2, and Kate would not be recast in the upcoming season. Leslie’s Batwoman will be Ryan Wilder, who in many ways is the exact opposite of Kate.

She’s described as “likable, messy, a little goofy and untamed” and “A girl who would steal milk for an alley cat and could also kill you with her bare hands.”

Ryan has a complex backstory, too, with years spent as a drug-runner, constantly dodging the Gotham City Police Department. Now, she’s living in a van with her plant as her only company. Like Kate, Ryan is also not straight; the character is openly lesbian.

“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 press release today.

Before taking on the Batwoman role, Leslie starred in God Friended Me and The Family Business, as well as the film Always A Bridesmaid.

Rose’s departure from Batwoman in May came as a shock to fans, who had only seen her in the role for one season. A source told TVLine at the time that the show “wasn’t a good fit” for the actress, but that her decision to leave was a mutual one.

“It wasn’t 100-percent her decision,” the source said. “It was a breakup. She wasn’t happy working on the show, and did that make her fun to work with? No. So everyone decided it would be in the best interests of the show, and for all concerned, if they parted ways. It just wasn’t a good fit.”

Season 2 of Batwoman is scheduled to return to the CW in January 2021.