Javicia Leslie will replace Ruby Rose and become TV's first Black Batwoman
Javicia Leslie has been cast in the lead role for the second season of The CW’s superhero show Batwoman, replacing original star Ruby Rose, who quit the role earlier this year.
The 33-year-old actor starred in the CBS comedy God Friended Me, which was cancelled in April after two seasons.
Leslie will not play Kate Kane — the character Rose portrayed — and will instead be new character Ryan Wilder.
Read more: Ruby Rose discusses Batwoman exit
Ryan has been described as “likable, messy, a little goofy and untamed” as well as a dangerous fighter who spent years as a drug runner.
A press release announcing the new character, via Variety, reported: “She is an out lesbian, athletic, raw, passionate, fallible, and very much not your stereotypical All-American hero.”
Leslie said: “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 honoured to join this groundbreaking show which has been such a trailblazer for the LGBTQ+ community.”
Read more: Batwoman makes history as first openly gay TV superhero
The casting decision has been welcomed online, with Rose commenting on Instagram that Leslie was an “amazing” choice to lead the second season of Batwoman.
She added: “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 two.”
David Harewood, who plays the dual roles of Martian Manhunter and Cyborg Superman in CW series Supergirl, described Leslie as an “exciting” leading lady.
Fabulous news over night. Exciting casting from @warnerbrostv and @GBerlanti!
Welcome to the Arrowverse @JaviciaLeslie 👌🏾#Batwoman pic.twitter.com/MGtRRLBc97
— David Harewood (@DavidHarewood) July 9, 2020
Batwoman was renewed in January this year, while the first season — slightly truncated due to the coronavirus pandemic — was still airing.
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The first season received mixed reviews from critics, but it was praised for its LGBT+ representation, earning a nomination for Outstanding Drama Series at the GLAAD Media Awards.
GLAAD is a media monitoring organisation that looks at the representation of LGBT+ characters in film and TV.
Batwoman is set to return, introducing Leslie’s character, in January 2021.