Warner Bros. Television, The CW and Berlanti Productions announced the news on Wednesday, July 8. Leslie, 33, will debut in the role when season 2 of Batwoman premieres in January 2021. She will be the first Black actress to portray the superhero in a live-action television show or film production.
“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,” Leslie said in a statement on Wednesday.
She added via Instagram: “For all of the little black girls dreaming to be a superhero one day… it’s possible!”
Rose, 34, reacted to news of her successor on Wednesday. “OMG!! This is amazing!!” she raved on Instagram. “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!!”
Leslie will portray a different Batwoman than Rose did during season 1. According to the description for her character, Ryan Wilder, the new vigilante is “likable, messy, a little goofy and untamed” as well as “nothing like Kate Kane.”
“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 description 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. An out lesbian. Athletic. Raw. Passionate. Fallible. And very much not your stereotypical all-American hero.”
Rose, for her part, shocked fans in May when she revealed she was leaving the titular role after one season. The actress called the decision “very difficult” at the time but noted that she was “beyond appreciative” for the opportunity.
Scroll down to learn more about Leslie before she suits up as Batwoman!