The CW has found its second Batwoman, though it’s still preparing to deal with the fate of its first.
Last month, after the abrupt and unexpected departure of Ruby Rose from the lead role, the show had to decide whether they were going to simply recast the Kate Kane character or expand out the mythology to have a totally new character take up the cowl and the mantle. They decided to go with the latter alternative and released a description of their new Batwoman:
“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.”
At that time, it was understood The CW was still in the process of casting the role and today they announced that God Friended Me‘s Javicia Leslie will be playing Ryan Wilder and in doing so, will become the first black actor to take on the role who, as Katy Kane, remains white in the comic-book continuity. The show was the first primetime show to have a female gay lead playing a leading gay character. The writers on the show have confirmed they will not be simply killing off Kane’s character to replace her. They noted the ‘Bury your Gay‘ trope, born out of the fact that many dramas that introduced gay characters often killed them off later and showrunner Caroline Dries, who is also gay, says they have no intention of going down that route. Instead, Kane’s disappearance will be an arc running through the second season.
“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.
Though Ruby Rose’s departure from the show was controversial, she has congratulated Leslie on getting the role and saying in an instagram post: “This is amazing!! I’m 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 in to an amazing cast and crew. I can’t wait to watch season two you are going to be amazing”
The show is expected to return in early 2021.