Batwoman's Javicia Leslie Speaks on the Importance of Representation in the Comic Book Universe

Illustration for article titled Batwoman's Javicia Leslie Speaks on the Importance of Representation in the Comic Book Universe
Photo: Amy Sussman (Getty Images)

Javicia Leslie may be taking over the leading role of CW’s series Batwoman—making her the first Black Batwoman—but the 33-year-old isn’t planning on making the iconic character all about her. She tells The Hollywood Reporter in a new interview that this has “everything to do with my people and little Black girls,” in order to provide better representation. She notes that her earliest bit of comic book representation was Eartha Kitt as Catwoman.


“There’s not many actors that get this opportunity to play in a world that you can continue to develop and expand on for a decade,” Leslie tells THR of the role. “This is a great beginning to what I’m sure will be a very long journey.” After the news that she would be replacing Ruby Rose made headlines in July, Leslie said in a statement that she was eager to break new ground not only as a Black woman but as a bisexual woman too.

In the THR feature, showrunner Caroline Dries praises the German-born actress as “the obvious choice” for the role. As for the physical demands expected of being Batwoman, Leslie says that her “active” personal life—which includes Muay Thai, fitness training and running—makes her capable for the challenge.

Per Variety, Leslie’s Batwoman will be nothing like Rose’s iteration of the character. Ryan Wilder is described as “likable, messy, a little goofy and untamed. She’s also nothing like Kate Kane (previously played by Ruby Rose), 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,” the synopsis continues. “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. She is an out lesbian, athletic, raw, passionate, fallible, and very much not your stereotypical All-American hero.”


In other Black hero news: It was also announced at DC FanDome 2020 that we could be getting a new Batman limited series comic from John Ridley (12 Years A Slave).

“I think it’s a pretty safe bet that if I’m writing Batman, it’s probably a little better than a 47 percent chance he’s going to be a person of color,” he said at the virtual event. Per Entertainment Weekly, Ridley’s comic will reportedly focus on Lucius Fox, the head of Wayne Enterprises, and his family.


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Pronounced "Jay-nuh."



Oh, c’mon. It’s not like super-hero movies featuring black characters and themes will ever make any money..... <looks at box-office figures for Black Panther> ...... er, um, nevermind.

So, when is this new show starting?