‘Batwoman’: Javicia Leslie Couldn’t Stop Smiling the First Time She Tried on the Cowl

The CW’s Batwoman faced a major shake-up heading into season 2, when the network decided to change lead characters following Ruby Rose’s departure from the role of Kate Kane. Javicia Leslie stepped in to save the day, taking up the Batwoman mantle as Ryan Wilder. It’s been a year since the first time the actor tried on the Batsuit. She celebrated the occasion by sharing a behind-the-scenes video of her putting on the cowl — and well, her enthusiasm about becoming Gotham’s hero is simply contagious.

Javicia Leslie replaced Ruby Rose as The CW show’s lead

'Batwoman' star Javicia Leslie. She's wearing a black tank and her hair is pulled back. Several curls fall in front of her face. She's smiling, and she stands in front of a white wall with words on it.
‘Batwoman’ star Javicia Leslie | Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

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Leslie made history when she replaced Rose on The CW series, becoming television’s first Black Batwoman and the first Black woman to headline an Arrowverse show. That alone was no doubt a jarring experience. Leslie told The New York Times the significance of it all didn’t really hit her until she saw herself on a billboard:

“It crossed my mind a few times during the audition, but it really landed after I got the part. When I saw myself on a billboard as Batwoman for the first time two weeks ago, I just had to take a minute to live in the moment.”

Leslie’s character was created with the show in mind, as Ryan Wilder didn’t appear in DC Comics until she was announced for TV. Because of that, Leslie recalls going on a similar journey to Ryan. While Leslie had to find her footing during the second season of the series, Ryan needed to find a way to distinguish her Batwoman from Kate’s. Leslie told Collider that was an important aspect of Ryan’s story for her:

“The great thing about Ryan is that she doesn’t really change who she is. She finds a way to make this Batwoman her Batwoman. That’s something that I want young people, and not just girls, to really take from this. It’s not about filling someone else’s shoes.”

Why did Ruby Rose leave ‘Batwoman’?

There’s been much speculation over why Rose left Batwoman in the first place, something the actor and The CW presented as a mutual separation. When the news first broke, the actor released a statement to Deadline, saying it wasn’t a choice she “made lightly.”

Although she didn’t delve too deeply into her reasoning, Rose was injured on the set of Batwoman prior to the announcement. She had to have surgery, and she later told Entertainment Weekly that her injuries factored into her departure, as did COVID-19. However, she also expressed the sentiment that headlining Batwoman was perhaps more than she bargained for:

“Being the lead of a superhero show is tough. Being the lead in anything is tough. But I think, in that particular instance, it was a lot more difficult because I was still recovering from my surgery. I had my surgery and then 10 days later I went to work, which maybe wasn’t the best idea.”

More recently, Rose told the Kyle & Jackie O Show that a latex allergy played into her exit. Whatever the actor’s reason for leaving, one thing is certain: the network couldn’t have chosen anyone more passionate than Leslie to headline Batwoman.

Javicia Leslie couldn’t stop smiling in BTS video of her suiting up as Batwoman

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It’s been a year since the first time Leslie donned the Batsuit, and the Batwoman star celebrated the occasion on social media. She told her Twitter followers to check out her Instagram story, where she posted a video of her trying on the hero’s cowl for the first time ever.

Leslie previously discussed her Batwoman suit with Insider, telling the outlet how exciting it was to try it on:

“It’s just a really surreal feeling because I grew up watching this superhero and to know that I now am taking the reins of this franchise, as far as the television generation goes, it’s epic.”

Her Instagram story highlighted her enthusiasm, showing that Leslie couldn’t stop smiling when she first wore the cowl. “I didn’t want to smile,” she says laughing. “Batwoman doesn’t smile.”

When will ‘Batwoman’ return for season 3?

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The third season of Batwoman is currently in the works, and it will see Leslie playing the titular hero yet again. While Batwoman Season 2 had to reckon with Kate Kane’s mysterious disappearance, the show’s third outing will focus primarily on Ryan. The season 2 finale and recent casting suggest Ryan will face her past — and her family — in the upcoming episodes.

The new season premieres on The CW on Oct. 13, so fans won’t have to wait long to see Leslie suit up again. A trailer hasn’t been released for Batwoman Season 3 just yet. However, this month’s DC FanDome event will likely feature updates about the new season — and possibly a first look.