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 The original red, straight-haired wig has been replaced by a natural and curly one with red streaks created by Janica Workman, and the suit’s gauntlets and boots also received an update.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.