Warner Bros. and The CW have announced that Javicia Leslie has been cast as the new Batwoman. She’ll debut in the role when the second season of the show debuts in January 2021. It’ll air Sundays from 8-9pm ET.
Javicia is the first Black actress to play the iconic character.
Ryan Wilder is about to become Batwoman. She’s 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. 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 Wilder seems to be a brand-new character and doesn’t seem to have any connection to comics.
The actress has primarily starred in television series and movies as well as shorts. She appeared as Mo on the Hello Cupid Reboot, as Mo/Monisha on Chef Julian, as Paris Duncan on The Family Business, as Jesse Colton on MacGyver, and as Ali Finer on God Friended Me among many other roles. This is her first comic related role.
Leslie takes over for Ruby Rose who played the title character, but as Kate Kane, for one season plus appearances on other CW DC superhero shows in crossover episodes.
In unexpected news, Ruby Rose has announced she is leaving the role of Batwoman on The CW show. Her exit comes after one season and guest appearances on other DC CW shows. The first season finale aired this previous Sunday. The series has been picked up for a second season. It will continue recasting the role.
The character debuted in December 2018 as part of the Arrowverse crossover event, eventually spinning into her own show. The series aired 20 of its 22 episodes, the season was cut short due to COVID-19. It’s unknown when Rose’s decision was made and when she told producers.
In the statement, Rose said:
I have made the very difficult decision to not return to Batwoman next season. This was not a decision I made lightly as I have the utmost respect for the cast, crew and everyone involved with the show in both Vancouver and in Los Angeles.
I am beyond appreciative to Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter and Caroline Dries for not only giving me this incredible opportunity, but for welcoming me into the DC universe they have so beautifully created. Thank you Peter Roth and Mark Pedowitz and the teams at Warner Bros. and The CW who put so much into the show and always believed in me. Thank you to everyone who made season one a success – I am truly grateful.
The reason for the departure is unknown but it’s reported that it’s not related to a stunt injury she sustained while filming the first season that lead to emergency surgery and her facing paralysis.
Berlanti Productsion and WBTV also released a statement:
Warner Bros. Television, The CW and Berlanti Productions thank Ruby for her contributions to the success of our first season and wish her all the best. The studio and network are firmly committed to Batwoman’s second season and long-term future, and we — along with the show’s talented creative team — look forward to sharing its new direction, including the casting of a new lead actress and member of the LGBTQ community, in the coming months.
Batwoman is an important show as it’s the first gay lead, male or female, in any live-action superhero series.
Secret opens with Kate confronting Reagan about the stolen journal and discovering that she’s Magpie’s sister and accomplice. While Tommy, Mouse and Alice are torturing a Professor Carr for help deciphering the journal at Arkham they decide their best bet might be to kidnap Luke. Mouse tries to talk sense into Alice, who’s hellbent on revenge with a side of reckoning but, she’s more than her usual level of irrational. Kate talks with Julia about her attacking Reagan on the book hunt but, they’re forced to stick a pin in the conversation because Julia’s new love interest and Kate’s ex Sophie shows up.
The Big Bad: Gotham is under attack from a new villain, Hush (aka Tommy) kidnapping cryptographers to help decipher the journal. When their plan to get Professor Carr to help fails they “enlist” the services of NSA data analyst Tony Kim and Alice doesn’t want to stop even with all of the codebreakers in Gotham on lockdown so Hush takes the one that they don’t know about, they take former “nemesis” turn friend/mentee Parker from school.
The Bat Gang: Mary tries to get Kate & Luke to reconcile because the team needs him, and personally so do they. Mary might not be a Luke level tech genius, she does come up with the idea of tracking Carr’s pace maker to the location where it went dark to find out where he was taken. Since Parker was facetiming with her girlfriend when Hush took her and her girlfriend had the sense to call Batwoman, she was rescued before Alice was able to get her hands on her which means the Bat Gangs resident techie Luke is back on her radar as prime target number one.
Confrontations All Around: After going toe to toe with Kate over needing to trust Julia, Luke does some research of his own and discovers that Julia is in fact rogue but, after he talks to Julia about it and tries to get her to come clean to Kate, the duo is captured by Hush, right in front of Crows HQ and they plan on using Julia as incentive to get Luke to crack his dad’s code.
What I Liked: Watching Parker and Mary watch Sophie & Kate make awkward small talk , like only two people who are still in love and neither wanting to yield can, like it was a soap opera.
Julia trying to talk Luke through his mental block to save both their lives was one of the most beautiful moments because it was in sync with the whole theme of reconnecting and emotional history.
Parker being a computer whiz doing her best to track Carr’s last living location and Mary coming through with an unintentional assist by trying to keep herself busy and accidentally uncovering special glasses that were made to read the journal.
Luke and Julia deciding to die rather that tell Alice what the journal says even though Luke, being the genius that he is deciphers it on his own.
It’s Almost the Finale and… : Batwoman has broken into Arkham which leaves the already angry Papa Kane with even more of a reason to go after his , unbeknownst to him, super suited daughter. Alice has the glasses and the book after Batwoman makes a heroic and selfless trade but, that’s not good enough for her and she lets loose all the crazies in the asylum to fight off Kate while she drags a reluctant Mouse through the tunnels on their escape. Papa Kane shows up with an army of Crows with one mission, to capture the Bat, not knowing what he’s really setting in play and Alice is now loose in Gotham with everything she needs to know, to kill her sister. It’s all one hell of a set up for what I’m sure will be a killer season finale and no matter how the chips fall in episode 20, it’ll pave the way for a fan worthy season 2.
Overall: The episode is exceptional and kept with the dark nature of the show. It’s well written, exceptionally acted, brilliantly directed, and completely plausible. The creative team behind Batwoman seems to be amazing at having just the right mix of action, drama, and credibility which sets it apart from the rest of the CW’s DC Universe shows. “Secret” is a believable and strong episode from the first frame through the final scene and it showcases the excellence that we expect from the show.
After episode 17 gave us all the calm thrills a superhero loving fan could want, episode 18 tosses us straight into the storm and it’s easy to fall right into the cozy embrace of what should be one of your new favorite shows.
This episode kicks off with Batwoman stopping some black market organ dealers, selling alive and unwilling donors, on a shady street in Gotham. With her conscience semiclear after coming clean about the murder and her PTSD she’s back in full fighting form. Sophie and Julia are out going through Tommy’s things for Lucious Fox’s journal and some proof that he was behind the senior Fox’s murder.
Mary is trying to insert herself into Kate’s Batwoman team so she can retain the closeness that they have. Mouse is still rocking the Dr. Butler suit at Arkham, and he threatens to give up Tommy by telling The Crows he’s sane enough to stand trial in exchange for the journal. Tommy decides to up the stakes leading Mouse and Alice to offer him escape and a new face but, Kate and Luke have been eavesdropping on his panic call and decide to break into the mob owned club where it’s being held and steal it themselves. Unfortunately, even though Mary uses her passion for passion to help Kate, she doesn’t get to go on the mission, which crushes her, that honor goes to Julia. And, while Julia is talking all about her newfound friendship with Sophie, Kate bumps into the one that got away, from earlier in the season, and it’s impossible not to want the two of them to give it another go.
The Big Bad: This episode doesn’t have one mega villain, instead it focuses on a heist. That doesn’t mean that bad guys aren’t front and center since the heist is in a mob-run night club IN GOTHAM which means it’s pretty much bad guy center and a trap. Julia and Kate both get captured, separately, in a place where everyone wants a piece of the bat.
Scene Stealer: This episodes MVP is Mary, she plays the role of the kid sister who wants to hang out with her big sister and her cool friends to prove she’s a grown-up but, also wants to spend more time with her because she loves her, in the cutest and most heartfelt way possible. The scenes that Mary showed up in, in this episode, were all made memorable by her, she didn’t make her character seem needy or whiny, she made her seem vulnerable and human in a way that was relatable. Kate wants to protect her but, Mary wants to protect her and prove herself. But, in a pinch, Mary is the one who saves the day because Batwoman got caught in her world and she wants it.
That Twist Tho: Alice being distrustful of everyone, even herself, had a backup plan for getting the book for herself. Her and Mouse (as Dr. Butler) let Magpie out to do what she does best, steal. While no one saw Tommy’s mob bestie double-crossing him, Alice did and whatever Alice wants, Alice gets and right now Alice wants that damn book and I pity anyone who gets in her way.
If that’s not enough of a shocker for you, Julia is out for the journal AND Magpie has a sister (the bartender).
Best Moment: The visit between Beth/Alice and her dad. The heartbreak, loneliness and loss in both of their voices and eyes as he explains to her why she’s in there will break your heart too.
Final Thoughts: Batwoman as a show has a lot of moving parts, subplots, side stories, and while normally that would make a show like this a hot mess, it works. Most of the major characters are interesting enough to carry their story arcs solo, whether or not there’s any action involved. The world that the writers built for these characters to live in feels so real that it’s damn near impossible to not catch the feels for them and get a little emotional with every twist and turn. As a show, Batwoman started out a really cool looking piece of coal and has turned into a whole diamond. Batwoman isn’t the hero that Gotham needs but, she is the anti-hero hero that Gotham desires and should want and as a whole, it’s the show that we should all be rooting for.
A Narrow Escape opens with Alice/Beth and Kate playing video games inside of Alice’s mind while her body is stuck in Arkham getting shock treatment at the hands of a brutal sadistic doctor. In the outside world, Batwoman is fighting off the baddies and taking her guilt and aggression out on every criminal that crosses her caped path. We time jump a week into the future where a GCPD officer wakes up in his patrol car with a bomb strapped to his chest and given the choice of killing himself with the bomb or freeing himself and letting another bomb go off taking someone else’s life.
Back at Mary’s clinic, she treats a wannabe caped crusader who has taken over her duties while Kate suffers from PTSD and panic attacks stemming from her murder of Cartwright. Ms. Pennyworth and Kate have resumed their relationship to a degree and she tries to talk Kate back into the mask before she leaves to go back to her life. Mouse and Alice are in group therapy “unburdening themselves” and while Mouse sees it as a safe haven and sanctuary from those after them, Alice sees it as a cage keeping them from causing mayhem.
The Big Bad: This episode’s villain is The Detonator but, not the original one, a copycat who’s taken up the mantel after a 7-year absence. The Detonator is strapping bombs to heroes and giving them a choice between saving themselves or allowing a bomb to go off somewhere else and killing other people. Only, since the real Detonator died 7 years ago, the copycat is using his MO to tie up some loo
The Side Story: Lucious Fox’s alleged murderer went free in the last episode and was promptly gunned down after having a conversation with Luke that convinced him of his innocence. But, his assassination put Sophie on the trail of a huge conspiracy within The Crows that she’s determined to crack before more bodies drop to cover it up
Best Moment: There were a few but, the one that got me the most was Mary letting Kate know that she knows who she is and giving her the push she needs to put the cape back on and save the day. It was beautiful, sincere and touching.
Episode MVP: Alice is a whole rockstar who steals every scene. She manages to play crazy and longing so well that it’s hella hard not to root for and feel sorry her. She’s toxic AF and even seems to have a toxic relationship with herself but, when she gets herself shived in Arkham to smuggle a gun to Mouse so they can steal the evil docs face.
An alternate universe Beth shows up at Kate’s office and gets assaulted and chased off by Kate who thinks it’s another one of Alice’s games. Alice is still in holding by Sophie and her dad’s team while her little mouse goes on a kidnapping spree to secure her release. The city refuses to call Batwoman for help and after Kate connects with Beth and fills her in on the multiverse and why no one remembers her.
WHAT WORKED: The writers made Beth’s acceptance of the multiverse plausible by making her a physics major they also made the heartbreak real when she explained what happened in her universe when the car went over the bridge. While Kate is happy to have her sister back, instead guilt about fighting with the Alice her universe, knowing what happened that made it so that they could be together in Beth’s universe is sure to ring back her guilt over Alice and make things difficult in the future.
Tie- Kate getting a chance to save Beth and Beth getting a chance to save Kate, there was something beautiful about them knowing that their counterpart isn’t the one they grew up with but, they were still willing to sacrifice themselves for the other and if necessary die together.
The people of Gotham taking to the streets to demand that the Gotham Police Department turn on the Batsignal and Batwoman showing up backlit and looking fierce AF above the crowd, giving them hope.
EPISODE MVP: Mary. She loves Kate and was willing to put her faith in that love when Beth showed up wearing the face of her mother’s killer she rolled with it and did due diligence to make sure that it wasn’t one of Alice’s tricks to get at her sister. Once she realized that it was in fact Beth as Kate had wanted her whole life she accepted her and even made her look like Alice in order to save Kate. Mary gets the MVP the emotional depth that Nicole Kang put into it made her real and in this episode, she shined and got to put all of her chops to work and it was beautiful and anchoring in a hella emotional and crazy episode.
When Kate was pulled out of Gotham to help save the multiverse for Crisis on Infinite Earths, much like Black Lightning, she was dealing with some pretty heavy stuff. Her twin sister, the villainess currently known as Alice, was on a mission to destroy everyone in her life, and to an extent in Gotham, but her. Her stepmother was dead, her stepsister was forcing her to choose a side, her dad was in handcuffs after a stellar frame job and, the city going to the Arkham ready psychos. While the biggest thing that Kara had to worry about was working for Lex Luthor in a world where people thought he was a good guy, Batwoman had to return to her world and it was literally falling apart to such a degree that Crisis felt like a vacation.
Queer picks up with Kate riding a badass BatHarley to save a train full of passengers, some of whom are just trying to see Jagged Little Pill after the breaks were cut. After the rescue is complete a cop “saves” her and now she can’t get rid of him or the shipping that the press keeps doing. Alice is having a tea party at the cemetery and semi-vandalizing her dead stepmother’s gravestone while her boyfriend tries to bring her back to reality because he knows something she won’t see, that the twins are never, ever, ever getting back together.
A new threat is looming and it’s an animated puppy avatar cyber-terrorist who’s holding the city’s digital secrets hostage unless his crowdfunding drive to the tune of five million dollars is received by Friday at midnight. Kate spends a lot of the episode trying to come to terms with all of the parts of her that she is hiding to save not only her secret identity but, the city. While Kate is all about hunting the hacker, who is hiding out at her old prep school, Mary is trying to save the only parent that she has left from being wrongfully convicted of killing her mother. Both of the girls have a very valid mission in the episode but, with all of the secrets keeping them apart it’s quite possible that all the work Kate has been doing to keep Mary safe might be for nothing. Batwoman finds the hacker and discovers that she’s just a scared school girl, Parker, who was upset after her ex outed her to her super religious parents and she just wanted the money to escape. Kate finds herself mask on staring into a mirror, realizing that hiding who she is might be bad, not just for her but, for everyone. Alice kidnaps Parker and of course, Batwoman comes to the rescue and to save Parker, she takes off her mask. Finding out that Batwoman is the “super gay” Kate, makes Parker feel a sense of loyalty, not just to The Bat but, she doesn’t want to be responsible for outing everyone after what happened to her when she was outed. But, Kate tells her that it is OK and so Parker sends a mass text out to everyone and turns the tables on Alice, handcuffing her and trying to get her to tell her how to diffuse the bomb she planted at the school. Kate lets her know that she is dead to her and with sirens blazing in the background, Alice discovers that Parker didn’t do what she asked, she sent one text to Alice and another one to everyone else in the building, warning them that there was a bomb in the building, giving them time to escape. When everything is said and done and Alice ends up in an interrogation room in Sophie’s care, Batwoman comes out as a lesbian because she knows that there is more than one Parker out there and, and she goes to hug Mary because she didn’t know how else to be there for her and, she wants to be there for everyone in Gotham in every way that she can. The episode ends with a twist that I can’t wait to see unravel next week, Beth is back, just in time for her and Kate’s birthday and she has no clue who Alice is and since we know all about Crisis, we know that this can all unfold in a lot of different ways.
Batwoman and Supergirl play on Sunday night and they run back to back, with Supergirl raising the darkness meter and Batwoman holding steady, they go together like PB & J which is a good thing. Batwoman sticks to her paragons ethos and is still a crusader of courage and she’s willing to go against anyone who is against the greater, common good. Kate’s character remains consistent and the writing remains pop-culture heavy (even crossing brands) and well written, showing every side of the human condition. Out of all of the episodes that I have seen since the pilot, this one is my favorite. It showed how dark people can get when they are afraid of being exposed, how rational people can act irrationally when they’re afraid of their life being upturned. Queer was an emotional and realistic take on things, the lighting kept you uneasy and the directing and camera work made you feel like you were a fly on the wall stuck in voyeur position which made this an interesting experience and an entertaining watch. I also loved how they slid a pretty realistic “Representation Matters” monologue into the script, it was just honest enough to avoid being too cliched and it didn’t come off as pandering or out of place. I really hope that we see more of Parker, she’s a talented young woman and when Batwoman gives her to offer to come see her if she needs to talk, I hope she takes her up on it because statistically speaking, having even one supportive adult in an LGBTQ+ kids life ups their chances of surviving and staying alive. I also loved how Parker’s face lit up when she discovered that the Gotham’s hero was just like her, it gave her hope and that’s what everyone in Gotham and, in the world out here needs.