Warner Bros. has recently announced that Black actress Javicia Leslie will be the titular live-action “Batwoman” come season 2 next year. This follows previous actress Ruby Rose departing from the role shortly after the first season wrapped up prematurely earlier this year. Prior to being offered the lead role on the nascent CW series, Javicia appeared in the series “God Friended Me” (cancelled amid the COVID-19 pandemic) and in the film “Always a Bridesmaid” (2019). She has also appeared on the BET series “The Family Business”.
When “Batwoman” returns next year, Javicia will play a brand-new original character “Ryan Wilder”, who will don the intimidating pointy-eared cowl. The synopsis of Ryan Wilder is that she is “a former drug-runner and out lesbian,” who is “likable, messy, a little goofy and untamed”. This is all in an effort to establish Ryan as her own unique character to the former brooding Kate Kane. Javicia herself is bisexual, vegan and trained in Muay Thai, is obviously honored to be stepping into the shoes of an LGBTQ superhero; not to mention who is now a lady of color.
While Javicia will be the first Black Batwoman, Nubian ladies have already been showcased on TV and film adaptations of the Batman mythos. In the zany and bat-tastic 1960s show starring the late-great Adam West (Batman) and Burt Ward (Robin), Eartha Kitt an accomplished African-American thespian, musical savant and activist, was given the role of “Catwoman” (a traditionally Caucasian character) in season 3 of the show. And of course there was the Halle Berry led film “Catwoman” (2004) where the actress played “Patience Phillips” instead of the traditional Selena Kyle in the skin-tight cat-themed leather suit.
“Batwoman” is scheduled to return for season 2 in January 2021 on the CW.