At a virtual DC FanDome earlier this year, Batwoman’s very own Javicia Leslie revealed that a legendary actress was the inspiration for her take on the DC character.
Leslie, who will become the first Black woman to play Batwoman in the DC television series, revealed she was inspired by Eartha Kitt’s indelibly iconic portrayal of Catwoman in the 1960s Batman series.
“I’ve always truly admired Eartha Kitt. But I admire Eartha Kitt even outside of acting,” she said. “I love her for her activism and the fact that she used her art for activism, and just her mentality in general — the things that she would say and how dynamic they were, and the power that she had as a woman.”
Javicia Leslie was inaugurated as the first Black Batwoman after the character original portrayer, Ruby Rose, exited after one season.
Leslie will portray a new character named Ryan Wilder, who will assume the mantle of Gotham City’s caped crusader. “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,” said Leslie in a statement when her casting was first announced.
Here’s the official description of her character: [Wilder] is likable, messy, a little goofy and untamed. She’s also nothing like Kate Kane, 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. An out lesbian. Athletic. Raw. Passionate. Fallible. And very much not your stereotypical All-American hero.
Batwoman also stars Rachel Skarsten, Meagan Tandy, Nicole Kang and Camrus Johnson.