Javicia Leslie Celebrates Being the First Black Actress to Play Batwoman In a Live-Action TV Or Film Production

The CW’s “Batwoman” will look much different when it returns for season two next year, now that Javicia Leslie has nabbed the lead role. Leslie will make history with the part as the first Black person to play Batwoman in a live-action TV or film production.

Leslie will be playing the character Ryan Wilder, Batwoman’s secret identity, according to The Hollywood Reporter, and she expressed pride about getting the part.

Javicia Leslie will be the first Black actress to play Batwoman in a live-action TV or film production. (Photo: @javicia/Instagram)

“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,” said Leslie in a statement.

Actress Ruby Rose, who was the first to play Batwoman on the series, left after season one.

Producers decided not to replace her character, but to create a new one instead. So Ryan Wilder will be far different from Kate Kane, the role Rose played. The disappearance of Kane reportedly also will play into the season-two story line.

Words like “likable, “a little goofy” and “messy” are used to describe Leslie’s character, but she also has a troubled side. She’s a loner, who lives in her van with her plant and used to be a drug-runner who spent time evading the Gotham City Police Department.

It appears Ryan’s drug-running days are over, but the lesbian character dilutes her pain with unhealthy habits while still fighting crime. So she’ll be much different from the flawless superhero that’s often portrayed on screen. Ryan is also a physical combat expert.

Rose congratulated Leslie on getting the part Wednesday, July 8 on Instagram.

“OMG!! This is amazing!! I am so glad Batwoman will be played by an amazing Black woman,” wrote Rose ❤. “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.”

Leslie was born in Augsburg, Germany, and was raised in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. She landed her first role in 2016 in the TV film “Killer Coach.” She also played on CBS’ “MacGyver” and “God Friended Me,” as well as BET’s “The Family Business.”

Leslie posted a message about the Batwoman role on Instagram Wednesday, July 8, and wrote, “For all of the little Black girls dreaming to be a superhero one day… it’s possible!”

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