Meet the new ‘Batwoman,’ Javicia Leslie

 nypost.com  01/13/2021 23:12:49   Lauren Sarner

Meet Javicia Leslie, TV’s new Batwoman.

Leslie replaces Ruby Rose, who starred as Kate Kane, aka Batwoman, but abruptly departed The CW’s freshman superhero series for undisclosed reasons in May — leaving the show without a center.

When it returns Sunday (at 8 p.m.) for Season 2, Batwoman will follow new character Ryan Wilder (Leslie).

I think [audiences are] going to love the character, Leslie, 33, tells The Post.  Ryan is a very relatable character, and I look forward to fans seeing themselves in her. I want her to show everybody that anyone can be a superhero.

Leslie, who has a background in Muay Thai and does many of her own stunts on the show, is best known for God Friended Me and BET’s The Family Business. She says she did not feel a sense of pressure in taking up the Batwoman mantle. 

Honestly, you just come from the words and the imagination,” she says. “Thats really what its about — taking the  time to allow yourself to be a kid again. When you come from that perspective, theres no pressure. I’m used to the type of work and ethic that comes with taking on a role like this.

“And I get to fly in the air for a living, I get to have fun,” she says. “That’s my life. Its honestly an honor. So really, I just go to work every day happy.

Season 1 of Batwoman followed Kate Kane (Rose), Bruce Waynes cousin who rose up to protect the streets of Gotham City. To accommodate Roses departure, Season 2 isnt pretending that Kate never existed, nor is it recasting the character. Sundays season premiere, Whatever Happened to Kate Kane?, follows Kates allies and tech support team Luke Fox (Camrus Johson) and Mary Hamilton (Nicole Kang) as they react to the fact that shes missing.

Javicia Leslie has a background in Muay Thai and does many of her own stunts on the show.
Javicia Leslie has a background in Muay Thai and does many of her own stunts on the show.
THE CW

It also introduces Ryan (Leslie), a spirited young woman to whom life has dealt a rough hand.

Shes loyal to a fault, says Leslie. Shes always willing to fight for people — but its hard when she also has vengeance, so she has to learn to put that aside. What makes her different from Kate [and from other Batwoman characters] is her past. She doesnt come from a prestigious or wealthy family [but] from a part of Gotham that hasnt been represented yet in the superhero universe. I look at Ryan as the underdog…a representative for those that dont have voices.

Batwoman returns for Season 2 Sunday at 8 p.m.
Batwoman returns for Season 2 Sunday at 8 p.m.
Nino Muoz/THE CW

Like Kate, Ryan is a lesbian with a passion for justice, but thats where their similarities end. Ryan has a criminal record (she was briefly incarcerated for a crime she did not commit) — but, regardless of her innocence, its hard for her to find a job. 

When circumstances put the Batwoman suit into her hands, she gets a new opportunity. 

It was exciting and really emotional, because I know no other black actress or actor who’s put on the bat suit yet for a live-action project,” she says about donning the suit for the first time. So it was really cool to be a part of that journey, especially as a person who grew up watching Batman. To know  that Im a part of that family is something that Ill be able to keep with me for the rest of my life, and that was really exciting to know that thats a legacy Ill leave.

“It was also super-fun because doing superhero shows in general means that all of your imagination gets to come to life [and] you can have as much fun as you possibly can.

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