Batwoman star Javicia Leslie suits up on set for EW’s digital cover shoot
A New Knight Rises
Paging Gotham citizens and supervillains with nefarious plans up their sleeves: There’s a new hero in town, and she has her Batsuit at the ready. Ahead of the season 2 premiere of Batwoman this weekend, Javicia Leslie traded her cowl for more glamorous duds (but kept the bo staff on hand) during EW’s latest digital cover shoot. Keep clicking to see more of the photos.
Leslie, photographed on the Batwoman set in Vancouver in November, enters the CW series as Ryan Wilder, a new character picking up the Crimson Knight’s mantle following the departure of Ruby Rose’s Kate Kane. The role makes Leslie the first Black woman to ever portray Batwoman in a live-action project. "Every day, I feel that pressure — and I don't look at it as pressure. I look at it as a responsibility," she says.
The character of Ryan is a street-smart lesbian and martial arts expert who grew up in Gotham's foster system and later gets arrested for a drug crime she didn’t commit. “I think that it's really dope that we're getting this chance to show another side of not only Batwoman, but Gotham City," says Leslie, comparing Ryan's background to Bruce Wayne's privileged upbringing. "I think we've done such an amazing job of introducing Ryan in a way where it's like this is a part of Gotham that doesn't get seen."
Reflecting on the many different kinds of Black women she's already played in the last two years — roles in the CBS series God Friended Me, the 2019 romantic comedy Always a Bridesmaid, and BET crime drama The Family Business — Leslie says: "I think it was important for me to have those roles before this, because it's just a constant reminder of how dynamic we are, how necessary we are, and how important it is to see us on screen."
"While Bruce and [Kate Kane] were interested in fighting [Gotham City's corrupt] system and social injustice, Ryan actually has experience being stuck in that system firsthand," says Batwoman showrunner Caroline Dries, "and I think that's actually what her superpower is."
Batwoman's second season premieres Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the CW. Head here to read more from EW's digital cover story.
- The King's New Legacy: LeBron James on taking the Space Jam mantle
- New Legacy, New Lola: Why Space Jam wanted to do better by one Tune
- Daniel Dae Kim, Awkwafina on 'secrecy' behind Raya and the Last Dragon casting, resemblance to their characters
- Watch LeBron James and Don Cheadle shoot to sum up Space Jam: A New Legacy in 24 seconds