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Meet the new Batwoman: Javicia Leslie replaces Ruby Rose on CW superhero series

"Extremely proud to be the first Black actress to play the iconic role of Batwoman on TV," said Javicia Leslie.

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Javicia Leslie as Ali Finer in the TV series God Friended Me.
Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

When actor Ruby Rose suddenly decided to quit as the lead in The CW's Batwoman series this year, fans wondered who would replace her as Batwoman/Kate Kane

On Wednesday, The CW announced actor Javicia Leslie would be the new Batwoman. Leslie is best known for her roles in God Friended Me, The Family Business, MacGyver and Always a Bridesmaid. (Disclosure: The CW is a joint venture between Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS, which also publishes CNET.)

"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," Leslie told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday.

Rose also praised the casting of Leslie on her Instagram on Wednesday. 

"OMG!! This is amazing!" Rose wrote. "I am so glad Batwoman will be played by an amazing Black woman. I  want to congratulate Javicia Leslie on taking over the bat cape. You are walking into an amazing cast and crew. I can't wait to watch season 2. You are going to be amazing!"

Instead of stepping into Rose's shoes as the character Kate Kane, The CW created a new DC Comics character named Ryan Wilder for Leslie to play on the show.

The original casting call had more details about the new character. "Ryan spent years as a drug runner, dodging the GCPD (Gotham City Police Department) and masking her pain with bad habits. 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."

"I love Kate Kane -- she's the reason I wanted to do the show. We'll never erase her," showrunner Caroline Dries said. "In fact, her disappearance will be one of the mysteries of season 2. I don't want to give away any of our surprises, but to all our devoted fans, please know that LGBTQ+ justice is at the very core of what Batwoman is and we have no intention of abandoning that." 

Season 2 of Batwoman is supposed to debut on The CW in January 2021, but that could change with production delays due to the coronavirus outbreak.