Everything We Know About New 'Batwoman' Javicia Leslie as Ryan Wilder

Javicia Leslie New Batwoman Casting Ryan Wilder
Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Batwoman has found its new caped hero.

Javicia Leslie will be stepping into the title role when the CW superhero drama returns for its second season in January 2021. "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," she said in a statement.

"For all of the little black girls dreaming to be a superhero one day... it’s possible!" Leslie, who starred as Ali Finer on the recently canceled God Friended Me, added on Instagram.

Here, we break down everything we know about Leslie's new character, plus check out the reactions from across the Arrowverse.

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Who Is Ryan Wilder?

While Leslie is taking over as Batwoman, she will be playing a new character, Ryan Wilder, who is described as "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," the description continues. "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."

Ryan will be following in Kate Kane's footsteps as Batwoman following Ruby Rose's exit. But the series won't forget Kate exists. "We'll never erase her. In fact, her disappearance will be one of the mysteries of Season 2," showrunner Caroline Dries teased. "I don't want to give away any of our surprises, but to all our devoted fans, please know that LGBTQ+ justice is at the very core of what Batwoman is and we have no intention of abandoning that."

Originally, it had been announced that Batwoman would be recasting the role of Kate Kane, but after speaking with executive producer Greg Berlanti, Dries said that decision changed. "He said, 'we should just reboot Batwoman as a different character,'" she explained. That allows them to "respect everything that Ruby put into the Kate Kane character" without wanting the audience to ignore "the elephant in the room" if they had someone new playing the same part.

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"In her past, [Ryan] was inspired by Batwoman," the showrunner added."She is going to take on the mantle and is completely maybe not the right person at the time to be doing it."

What Is Ryan Stepping Into as Batwoman?

There may be someone new under the cowl going forward, but Batwoman was in the middle of a few storylines at the end of Season 1. Assuming that there's not a complete reset, Ryan is going to be inheriting them.

At the end of Season 1, Kate's sister, the villain Alice (Rachel Skarsten), and father, head of the Crows Jacob (Dougray Scott), were both looking to kill Batwoman by getting their hands on something that could penetrate the Batsuit. While the former knew who was wearing the cape, the latter didn't, but he also held her accountable for her actions over the course of the season.

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Meanwhile, the Bat team had come together, with tech guru Luke (Camrus Johnson) and Kate's stepsister Mary (Nicole Kang). Just because there's going to be a new Batwoman doesn't mean there has to be a new team, so how will Ryan fit into that dynamic?

The Arrowverse Loves This Casting

Stars across the Arrowverse took to social media to celebrate Leslie's casting after it was announced, including the former Batwoman herself, Ruby Rose. (Kang even noted that Batwoman was trending, something she hadn't "seen in a while.") See their reactions below.

 

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OMG!! This is amazing!! I am 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 into an amazing cast and crew. I can’t wait to watch season 2 you are going to be amazing !! ❤️

A post shared by Ruby Rose (@rubyrose) on

Meagan Tandy Javicia Leslie Casting Batwoman

(Meagan Tandy/Instagram)

Camrus Johnson Javicia Leslie Casting Batwoman

(Camrus Johnson/Instagram)

Nicole Kang Javicia Leslie Casting Batwoman

(Nicole Kang/Instagram)

 

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Welcome to our new Batwoman, @javicia

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Nicole Maines Javicia Leslie Casting Batwoman

(Nicole Maines/Instagram)

Nicole Maines Reacts Javicia Leslie Casting Batwoman

(Nicole Maines/Instagram)

Danielle Nicolet Javicia Leslie Casting Batwoman

(Danielle Nicolet/Instagram)

Melissa Benoist Javicia Leslie Casting Batwoman

(Melissa Benoist/Instagram)

Nafessa Williams Javicia Leslie Casting Batwoman

(Nafessa Williams/Instagram)

Nafessa Williams Reacts Javicia Leslie Casting Batwoman

(Nafessa Williams/Instagram)

Tala Ashe Javicia Leslie Casting Batwoman

(Tala Ashe/Instagram)

Violett Beane Javicia Leslie Casting Batwoman

(Violett Beane/Instagram)

Batwoman, Season 2, January 2021, The CW