Press: 2020 Archives - Javicia Leslie Archives


Rebecca VanAcker of ScreenRant writes…

The Batwoman season 2 premiere synopsis reveals Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie) will encounter Gotham’s fake Batman when the show returns next month.

Javicia Leslie’s new Batwoman will go up against the Arrowverse’s fake Batman in the show’s season 2 premiere. The series returns on January 17 after eight months away. Season 2 will introduce a new hero, Ryan Wilder, who takes over the Batwoman mantle from Kate Kane. Leslie joins the cast following the exit of original series lead Ruby Rose. Excitement for season 2 has only grown since Leslie’s casting, with many eager to see her take on Batwoman. Ryan promises to be a different sort of hero and will receive her own unique Batsuit after wearing Kate’s at the start of the season.

In addition to introducing the new Batwoman, season 2 will have to address the events of the season 1 finale. That episode made the surprising move of revealing Bruce Wayne/Batman’s face, which had previously been one of the Arrowverse’s biggest mysteries. However, Bruce himself won’t appear on Batwoman, at least as of now; Batman’s whereabouts are still unknown after vanishing from Gotham several years ago. Instead, the show will deal with the villain Hush wearing Bruce’s face. Based on the recently released season 2 premiere synopsis, Hush-as-Bruce will be a formidable foe for the new Batwoman.

The premiere description was shared by The CW (via TVLine). It teases a battle between “Bruce” and Ryan, which is exciting in its own right. However, the synopsis also explains how the new Batwoman comes across Kate’s Batsuit and why she decides to take up the mantle. Take a look at the episode’s full synopsis below:

As friends and family hold on to hope that Kate may still be found, a homeless 25-year-old named Ryan Wilder stumbles upon Kate’s Batsuit. Focused on no longer being a victim, Ryan takes the suit to use as armor and goes rogue in the streets of Gotham, taking out various members of a new gang called the False Face Society.

Meanwhile, both Jacob Kane and Luke Fox launch searches for Kate, Mary Hamilton grapples with losing yet another family member, Sophie Moore struggles with things left unsaid to her first love, and Alice is furious that someone got to Kate before she could exact her revenge.

At the same time, “Bruce Wayne” (played by guest star Warren Christie) returns under the pretense of searching for Kate, but the truth is he wants his suit back and it becomes the clash of impostors as “Batwoman” and “Bruce” square off in the action-packed season premiere.

Based on the premiere episode description, it seems Ryan won’t be gently eased into her role as Batwoman. Instead, she’ll face a major adversary immediately. It’s interesting to hear Hush will emerge as “Bruce” so early in the season. Though Kate would likely figure out he was an imposter quickly, it’s possible that will now fall to Luke, the remaining character who knew Bruce well. Until Hush’s true identity is revealed, he’ll cause some serious problems for the new Batwoman.

It’s also exciting to find out about Ryan’s origin story. It sounds like her Batwoman will more than stand on her own and offer a twist on the classic DC character. Additionally, the season 2 premiere will fully address the effect of Kate’s disappearance on her family and friends. For Jacob especially, the situation will likely feel like the worst kind of déjà vu, as he failed to find Beth/Alice so many years before. All told, Batwoman season 2 promises to be an intriguing new chapter for the series.

Von Maria Hunstig of Vogue Germany sat down with Javicia to interview her about her role in Batwoman. They were kind enough to post the interview in both German and English at their website. Check out their English translation below.

You lived in Germany at the very beginning of your life. Do you have any memories from back then?
It’s funny because I was pretty young, but I remember little bits and pieces. I remember what our living room looked like. I remember my grandmother from Florida came to stay with us, so she was around a lot in my childhood. I remember we had a black dog, a black chow that did not like me. Because it kept trying to bite me, my mom had to get rid of the dog and I remember my brother came home one day and realized his dog was gone and he was so heartbroken. And lastly, I remember my mom taking me to her job. She was in the Army so she would take me on base and I got to meet her coworkers.

At what point of time did you decide you really wanted to be an actress?
I’ve always wanted to but I made the decision in 2011. I went to California just to check it out and when I did check it out I was obsessed. I have some friends out there and I saw them creating their own projects and everyone was going to different shows and events and it was the entire network that I really needed to be around. So when I flew back to DC, my job was coming to an end and I used that as an opportunity to go ahead and relocate. So two months later I moved to California.

Were you scared?
I wasn’t scared because I knew that I was doing exactly what I was supposed to do when I was supposed to do it as everything just kind of fell into the place it should. I think it also helped that my mom used to live in LA so we still have a few family members here that reminded me of what home felt like.

How do you find optimism in these troubling times?
Meditation has been super important for me. I feel like everything is going at such a fast pace, so being able to take a second and breathe is crucial. And the second thing is definitely prayer. I am a very spiritual person so taking the time to pray has balanced me a lot.

What do you do when you are having a bad day?
If I am having a bad day, all I need to do is to decompress and my way of decompressing is just having a glass of red wine, chilling on the couch with my dog, finding a good movie to watch and disconnect. That’s my happy place!

What does it mean to you being cast as the next Batwoman?
I think it’s an honour. If you look at the entire universe of TV super heros, there is only so little. Even if there are 20, that means that only 20 people get the chance to play those roles and to be one of those 20 people in the world it is such an honor. And also it’s really cool because my grandchildren will be able to say: “My grandma was a superhero!” Because no matter what other job I’ll get after this, I will always technically be Batwoman. And I think that’s epic.

What fascinates you around that character?
Most superheroes have superpowers and Batman and Batwoman don’t. Their power is their brain and how they think through situations. It’s about coming into a situation without even being seen and always choosing honor over everything. Also, Ryan Wilder doesn’t even come from money like the other Batwoman [Kate Kane]!

How do you prepare yourself for playing a superhero?
When I became Batwoman, the first thing that happened was that I had to go to a photo shoot. And I was like: “I don’t even know how to hold my hand, is there a special way of how to hold your hand as Batwoman?” So I had to go back to the basics and I watched all of the superhero shows, I didn’t limit myself to Batman. To me, Flash was a superhero that kind of resonates with me as a person because he’s very kind and very gentle. Being able to see a TV character who I feel in personality represented Javicia, allowed me to figure out how to bring myself into the superhero. For any role you play but especially for playing a superhero, it is very important to bring in a little bit of yourself.

Do you have a trick of how to transform into Batwoman on set?
I like to listen to certain music, I like aggressive rap music, usually with a female rapper like Cardi B because I know she’s badass and that makes me feel badass, too. And outside of that, I think when I put the suit on, it kind of happens naturally, you start to feel powerful. The suit that I’m wearing was specifically designed for my batwoman Ryan Wilder, so I feel even more powerful because no other batwoman has worn this suit and it’s very unique.

And if you had a superpower, which superpower would you like to have?
I would teleport. Because I’m always out of town and I miss my family.

If you were to fight, what is it that you would fight for?
Equality. I’m so tired of there being this division of people based on something that does not mean anything. If you look at what makes us different in what is considered a characteristic of race, it’s such a small percentage of our DNA, yet it’s the biggest divider in people. I fight for equality, I fight for kids. It sounds very much like Martin Luther King Jr., but I think every kid deserves to grow up in a world where every opportunity is equal and fair. And that’s important to me.

What is something that you recently learned?
Something that has grown on me lately is that our power is limited. Also regarding everything that’s going on in the pandemic. I think we’re so used to controlling what happens next. We can’t plan our future right now, we can’t even plan a travel day, you can’t plan anything. You have to assume that in nine times out of ten, plans are going to be cancelled or rescheduled. It kind of makes you appreciate the very moment. I have always thought like that but I think going through this pandemic, I’ve doubled down on that. It has also become evident in my work, because the only moment that I’m at is the one that’s in front of me with the actors and actresses that I’m working with at that moment.

What do you wish for for 2021?
I love my country but we have to start realizing that change can’t happen until we stop denying that change is needed. I’m a huge James Baldwin fan and he has this quote: “Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it’s faced”. If we can face that reality and if we can stop acting like problems don’t exist, that’s when we can actually change something.

On a personal note for 2021, it’s really more about making sure I maintain my health and my peace. There is so much going on and it is such a drastic change of how my life was moving even a year ago. I was always a very busy person, and before “Batwoman”, I was filming two TV shows on different coasts at the same time. But this one is just different, because I am basically playing three characters. I’m Ryan Wilder, I’m Batwoman and then I’ll be my own stunt. Each one of those takes different discipline, a different amount of time and energy, so it’s really important that I maintain my peace and my health in 2021.

If we gave you a banner on Times Square and you could put one sentence on it – what would it be?
My motto that I live by: Follow your passion and you’ll find your purpose.


Joe Anderton of Digital Spy writes…

Batwoman is undergoing quite the change going into season 2, as previous leading lady Ruby Rose left the role of Kate Kane due to a variety of reasons.

Now God Friended Me and MacGyver actress Javica Leslie is playing a new character called Ryan Wilder, who takes on the Batwoman mantle to defend Gotham City and punch bad guys and that sort of thing.

The CW have been airing a new teaser that mostly features clips of season 1 to try and get you to catch up on the story so far on their (US-only) app, but there are a few cheeky clips of season 2 with Javica in action.

The new footage shows Ryan holding up Kate’s batsuit (she’ll get her own later on), and scaring a baddie by popping up behind them, upside down, and giving them a cheeky “boo!”

It’s a short glimpse, but shows us that this new Batwoman is more fun and light-hearted than before. Between the hanging upside down and the quip, we are getting some Spider-Man vibes, which we are always here for.

Speaking about why it was important her Batwoman has a distinctive look from Ruby Rose’s, Javica said: “I love the fact that Ryan is becoming her own Batwoman – it’s her style, her swag, and her moment.

“I felt it was important that viewers could tell by the silhouette that Batwoman was a Black girl. With the form-fitting suit and beautiful Afro, we definitely nailed it!”

Batwoman will return for season 2 on Sunday, January 17 on The CW in the US. E4 airs the series in the UK.


Chancellor Agard of Entertainment Weekly writes…

On Monday, Batwoman unveiled our first look at the supersuit Javicia Leslie’s Ryan Wilder will wear when she picks up the Crimson Knight’s mantle in season 2 following Kate Kane’s (Ruby Rose) mysterious disappearance. The reveal arrives a few days before Ryan, who was created specifically for the show, makes her comic book debut in Batgirl #50.

The new look was conceived by Batwoman costume designer Maya Mani and created by Ocean Drive. The original red, straight-haired wig has been replaced by a natural and curly one with red streaks created by Janica Workman, and the suit’s gauntlets and boots also received an update. Check it out below.

Don’t expect to see this suit right at the beginning of season 2, though. Ryan starts out the season in Kate’s original costume and goes on a journey to make it her own, which mirrors what Kate went through in season 1. Initially, Kate wore Batman’s costume, and the iconic red wig didn’t make its debut until episode 3. Similarly, Ryan will unveil her redesigned suit in season 2’s third episode.

“Ryan’s journey starts from a place of ‘What can this Batsuit do for me?’ But it’s not long before she realizes the power of its symbol and what it can do for everyone else in Gotham City,” said showrunner Caroline Dries in a statement. “As Ryan embraces everything that makes her special, she adjusts the suit to fit her physically and figuratively. This meant creating a new body design and new cowl that was undeniably a statement that screamed ‘powerful.’ Maya Mani sent me her drawings and I loved it. The wig was something we never perfected in season one, and Janice Workman crushed it with this new take. Javicia and I saw various prototypes of styles and red ombres, and at one point we were trading our own iPad-doodled versions. Janice translated that into what we are looking at now. When I see it, I smile. It makes me feel inspired.”

For Leslie and Dries, it was important that Ryan used the suit to speak her own truth. To that end, they’re hoping it reflects the fact that Ryan is both a lesbian and a Black woman.

“I love the fact that Ryan is becoming her own Batwoman — it’s her style, her swag, and her moment! It was an honor to be able to collaborate with Caroline and Maya. I felt it was important that viewers could tell by the silhouette that Batwoman was a Black girl. With the form-fitting suit and beautiful Afro, we definitely nailed it!” said Leslie, who is the first Black woman to play Batwoman ever.

In designing the new Batwoman look, Mani wanted the suit to convey the “physical strength” Leslie brings to the part. ” It was important for the new suit to define Javicia’s commanding presence while showcasing her athleticism and allowing her the freedom to express the physical nature of Batwoman, all while looking ultra-cool in the process,” said Mani.

The costume isn’t the only difference between Leslie’s Ryan and former star Ruby Rose’s Kate (Rose exited the drama at the end of season 1). Whereas the latter came from a wealthy family (and is Batman’s cousin), Ryan is a former drug runner who lives in her van, has first-hand experience with the city’s failings, and views being Batwoman as a way to break out of the system that’s kept her down for so long.

“[Becoming Batwoman is] going to be a struggle because when you’re part of a community that has been neglected by the system, that’s the initial community that you feel responsible for helping,” said Leslie during the show’s DC FanDome panel last month. “And that’s what you’re going to see. You’re going to see that community of Gotham that got overlooked. It’s funny because a lot of Mary’s [Nicole Kang] patients can be examples of that community — that community that gets overlooked by the hospital, by the Crows. It’s a very personal thing, but that will be a huge battle. When Caroline and I were talking about it — just the battle of, they’re not the only ones that need help, but those are the ones that Ryan is attached to that she really wants to be able to help.”

Batwoman — which recently resumed production in Vancouver — will return to The CW in 2021.

Joe Otterson of Variety writes…

“Batwoman” has found its new series lead, with Javicia Leslie set to step into the cape and cowl for the show’s upcoming second season on The CW.

“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.

Leslie will portray a new character on the show named Ryan Wilder. She 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. 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.

Leslie takes over leading the series from Rose, who shocked fans when she announced her departure from the series in May.

On Instagram, Rose praised Leslie’s casting.

“This is amazing!! 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!!” she wrote.

Prior to joining “Batwoman,” Leslie starred on the CBS series “God Friended Me,” which aired for two seasons. That show was also produced by Warner Bros. Television and Berlanti Productions. She also starred in the BET series “The Family Business” and the film “Always a Bridesmaid.”

She is repped by Stewart Talent and Thirdhill Entertainment.

“Batwoman” is produced by Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. Caroline Dries developed the series and served as executive producer for season one with Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter and Geoff Johns. “Batwoman” is based on characters created for DC by Bob Kane with Bill Finger.

The show is scheduled to return in January on Sunday nights on The CW.