New Batwoman Javicia Leslie Reacts to Wearing the Batsuit for the First Time

When Batwoman premiered in 2020, Javicia Leslie never thought she’d play the DC Comics role. Ruby Rose was Batwoman. Then Rose left the series and the role became available again. Leslie won the role of a new Batwoman, Ryan Wilder. 

Leslie spoke on a Zoom panel for the Television Critics Association on Jan. 15. Leslie described the feeling of putting on the Batwoman suit for the first time and what it meant to her. Batwoman airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on The CW. 

‘Batwoman’ was a part of Javicia Leslie’s childhood

Leslie said Batman and all of its spinoffs were important to her and her older brother. That includes Batwoman.

“I grew up watching movies based off of comic books,” Leslie said. “My brother was a huge comic book collector so I played and dabbled in his comic books, but for me it really was the screen adaptations. So when you’re talking about anything Bat related, Batman, Batwoman, Batgirl, Robin, I’m a huge fan.”

Leslie also spent a summer with her cousins, where they would play superheroes. 

We didn’t have money so we had to find a way to use our imagination and cardboard boxes to have fun. So we used to pretend to be superheroes and we’d take these cardboard boxes and create our weapons out of it. My whole world when I was a child was all about using my imagination and that included superheroes. I remember I wanted to be Xena: Warrior Princess. I got into WWE stuff and thought that was so cool. I’ve always imagined that the roles that I would pay would come from that type of world, that imaginary world, not just real life. With Batwoman we play in both of those fields. It’s very grounded but it’s also very creative and magical. 

Javicia Leslie didn’t take ‘Batwoman’ lightly

It’s a big moment in the Batwoman season premiere when Ryan Wilder tries on Kate Kane (Rose)’s costume. It was monumental for Leslie too.

“As far as when I first put the suit on and I saw that bat across my chest, it felt surreal but it’s also this moment of your childhood dream come true,” Leslie said. “So it doesn’t feel real. It almost feels like make believe until you actually start playing. Then you realize this is your reality and this will be your reality for a while.”

Javicia Leslie takes her responsibility seriously 

Wearing the Batwoman costume is more than just wardrobe to Leslie. She remembers how important the batsuit was to her growing up, and she intends to represent that for viewers today.

“I know as a fan of Batman, the suit has always represented a legacy,” Leslie said. “It is the suit, but the person also has to be worthy to carry that legacy. That’s kind of the journey that Ryan goes on because when she first puts on the suit, like me when I first got the job, you question everything that you worked for and what that really represents, what this legacy means. As she goes on her journey, you find out whether or not she becomes worthy but it’s really the journey of owning her batness.” 

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