Javicia Leslie to Star as Ryan Wilder, the First Black and Bisexual Batwoman
On Saturday, Batwoman executive producers and cast gathered at DC FanDome to show off their new star and discuss the upcoming season.
Ruby Rose’s exit from the series at the end of the first season marked the need for a new Batwoman. Enter Ryan Wilder, a former drug dealer with a rough upbringing. Unlike Kate Kane, Bruce Wayne’s wealthy cousin, Ryan offers a new take and a new perspective on this classic character.
“Ryan is a new character in the world of DC and she has a lot going against her. She’s a girl who was a statistic of injustice the moment she was born,” said Executive Producer and Showrunner Caroline Dries. “The system was not made for this person and she will constantly battle the system. She’s battled with it her whole life and she will battle with it as Batwoman.”
Javicia Leslie, cast as Ryan Wilder, shared her strong connection with the role. “When I read the character description, it was definitely me,” Leslie said. “I love the idea that it’s goofy meets badass meets a person that doesn’t like to be told what to do―a person that doesn’t follow the rules. I love the fact that Ryan is just who I am: a hot mess.”
Leslie said it is an honor to play a character that is just like her: Black and bisexual. She pointed out that it is not common to play a character that represents her community. “It feels really powerful,” she said. “With everything that’s going on right now, this is what we need. We need to see representation.”
The New Batsuit
Representation will also shine through the new Batsuit, which will feature Leslie’s natural, textured hair. Interestingly, the suit will change over time as Ryan becomes more comfortable with herself and her role as a superhero.
“…it’s going to be a bit of an evolution,” Dries said, “We’ll see the suit evolve early on in the season. Ryan is like, ‘For me to feel empowered in this thing, it needs to feel like it’s representing something I’m fighting for.’”
Fans got a couple more hints on what to expect next season, which will center around the mysterious disappearance of Kate Kane. As Ryan takes over as Batwoman, she will become closer to the Kane family than some might expect.
“I don’t see the Kane family liking Ryan,” Leslie admitted. According to her, their opposing socio-economic backgrounds eliminates any possible connection or common ground with the family.
However, Dries was clear about Ryan’s role with the Kane family. “Ryan will, ironically, ultimately unite the Kane family,” she said. “Whether or not they realize it, there are all of these strands of connection that she brings to them that allows them to continue interacting and having changing dynamics.”