Javicia Leslie as Batwoman

Javicia Leslie Is a Vision in New Batwoman Costume

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After the exit of Ruby Rose on the CW series Batwoman, the casting of Black Bisexual actress Javicia Leslie was probably the best token of goodwill the show could have done to excite people about what was coming next. My own personal excitement grew even stronger once the official first look of Leslie in the costume as Ryan Wilder a.k.a Batwoman was shared, because it is fantastic.

That hair! Black hair on The CW has been a mixed bag outside of the Black programs that tend to have more diversity of crew behind the scenes as well. While we don’t yet know if this is going to be Leslie/Wilder’s hair or a wig, but I appreciate that the texture of it allows it to be clear that this new Batwoman is unambiguously a Black woman. (Although I do hope it’s a wig because, girl the breakage! Get a protective style queen!)

io9 shared a statement from costume designer Maya Mani, who explained that she wanted to create something that reflected Ryan’s particular fighting style and gave some separation between her and her predecessor.

“I was asked by [showrunner] Caroline Dries to design a Batsuit that was unique to the character of Ryan Wilder; as she is a highly skilled fighter, encapsulating her raw, athletic, and passionate nature was imperative,” Mani said. “As Batwoman, Javicia Leslie not only brings a fresh perspective, but physical strength to the role. 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!”

My excitement about Ryan Wilder is real but also tentative, mostly because the language surrounding her character from the initial description just read very stereotypical on the page. I am hoping that with some Black female writers on board, we will see Ryan given a fullness of being rather than just being a rascal.

Just as it was important for people to see a lesbian superhero played by a lesbian nonbinary femme actress like Ruby Rose, it is important to see a bisexual Black woman who is unambiguously Black take on this mantle on a CW flagship show. If done well, it will be a really great addition to the Arrow/CWverse and I’m going to give it a chance.

“I love the fact that Ryan is becoming her own Batwoman — it’s her style, her swag, and her moment,” Leslie said in a statement. “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!”

Good luck Ryan Wilder, you are our new Batwoman. Would highly suggest investing in some good braids, though.

(image: The CW)

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Princess Weekes
Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.