Batwoman executive producers Caroline Dries and Sarah Schechter and cast members Rachel Skarsten, Meagan Tandy, Camrus Johnson and Nicole Kang were on hand at DC FanDome to talk about the upcoming season of the DC TV series, but more importantly, they were all there to welcome Javicia Leslie, who will be donning the cowl as the titular iconic superhero.
In the first conversation between Leslie and the cast, the actress talked about what it meant to her playing Ryan Wilder, the new Batwoman.
“When I read the character description its was definitely me,” she said of the role. Leslie loved the idea that Wilder is a mix of goofy, badass and a woman who doesn’t like being told what to do. She joked, “I love the fact that Ryan is who I am — just a hot mess!”
Before she booked the role, Leslie admitted that one of her biggest goals was to play a superhero — and a month later, she got word that she was going to be Batwoman. Leslie makes history has the first Black woman to play Batwoman. In fact, this is the first Black Batwoman.
Leslie, who is also bisexual, said it is an honor to play a character that is just like her. She points out that it is not common to play a character that represents the community that she belongs to. “It feels really powerful,” she said. “With everything that’s going on right now, this is what we need. We need to see representation.”
She added, “I feel like there are so many little Javicias that don’t have voices…I feel honored to be able to be a voice for my community.”
As for what to expect this season, Dries said that there are two major stories Batwoman will follow. The first is what happened to Kate Kane. All the characters will have different points of view and it will be “shocking, awesome and amazing.”
The second is the new hero that is rising in Gotham. Dries said that Ryan is a new character in the DC world of “She has a lot going against her,” Dries added. “She was a statistic of injustice and the system is not built for this person. She has constantly battled through the system — through her whole life and now as Batwoman.”
Leslie stated: “When you are part of a community that has been neglected by the system, that’s the initial community that you feel responsible for helping. That’s what you’re going to see — you’re going to see that community in Gotham that got overlooked.”
“The idea of superheroes is to fill a void for an hour a week,” said Schechter. “For us, it’s just exciting to make a show that is very much about the world we live in as much as it’s set in Gotham.”
As for how Ryan is going to get along with the Kane family, Leslie has some thoughts. “I don’t see the Kane family liking Ryan,” laughs Leslie. She points out that Jacob Kane isn’t a fan of the vigilante life and to add to that, they are dealing with the disappearance of Kate (which they never really get into during the panel).
With Kate being groomed as Batwoman and coming from wealth and status and Ryan coming from nothing while growing up, Leslie said that there is no connection or common ground with the family which will make for narrative tension. However, Dries chimes in, “Whether they realize it or not, Ryan will unite them.”