During the 2018 Holiday season, The CW took significant steps to introduce a new DC Comics superhero character to headline a show in the common setting originated by “Arrow.” Thus the “Elseworlds” crossover event tying “Arrow” (season7), “The Flash” (season 5) and “Supergirl” (season 4) will see the debut of Kate Kane, cousin to Gotham City philanthropist/vigilante Bruce Wayne/Batman, who assumes the identity of Batwoman. Played by Australian actress Ruby Rose, Batwoman would see her CW series premiere in October 2019, plus further participation in the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover. But with the conclusion of its debut season Rose has decided to exit the show. A new actress to play Batwoman must be found.
So it is that The Hollywood Reporter brings news that Berlanti Productions, DC Entertainment and WB Television has found a new actress who will don the mantle of Batwoman on The CW. That would be Javicia Leslie, who comes from another series co-produced by Greg Berlanti, “God Friended Me” on CBS. She, and her character, would thus become the first African-American Batwoman, something that has not even happened in the source DC Comics. The announcement comes some two months after Ruby Rose announced her departure from the role last May.
The CW elaborates that rather than take over Rose as Kate Kane/Batwoman, Leslie will play a different character who will assume the costumed identity for the series’ second season. To assuage audience fears that the Kate Kane character will be killed off to facilitate the handover, the network hints that the show’s new story arc will start with Kate having disappeared from Gotham, similar to her cousin Bruce/Batman. Leslie’s character will be Ryan Wilder, a one-time drug-runner set to have an uncommon destiny. As a common thread, Ryan is characterized as an out lesbian similar to Kate, and their storylines as Batwoman will retain the LGBTQ+ social justice theme set by series show-runner Caroline Dries.
Despite speculation that Ruby Rose opted not to continue starring in The CW’s “Batwoman” due to trouble adjusting to the production pace as well as living in the shooting location of Vancouver, the actress says that her departure was a mutual decision between her, the studio and network. She has also praised the casting of Javicia Leslie, who identifies as LGBTQ like herself as befits Batwoman, whose original comic-book iteration is considered a community icon.
With the problem of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, production of “Batwoman” season 2 is on hold. But The CW expects that they can resume soon enough, ahead of the season premiere sometime in early 2021.
Image courtesy of E! Online