Batwoman Star Javicia Leslie "Put Most of My Energy Towards My Ryan"

Heading into this weekend's second episode of The CW's Batwoman season 2, Javicia Leslie's Ryan Wilder handed the batsuit back over to Luke (Camrus Johnson), Mary (Nicole Kang)- but not before taking a "hands-on" approach to ending Tommy/Hush's (Warren Christie) run as "Bruce Wayne"- but not before Tommy left her with a parting "gift" that could prove deadly. Meanwhile, Alice (Rachel Skarsten) was delivered a "gift" from Safiyah (Shivaani Ghai) that she was definitely not looking for and now there's going to be a war in the streets of Gotham between the two "big bads"- with the city lacking in a defender to save it. And let's not forget that we still have Black Mask and the False Face Society waiting in the (bat) wings. Oh, and then there's still that overarching question of what exactly happened to Kate Kane- making it all one helluva start to our new dark knight defender.

Batwoman season 2 key art released (Image: The CW)
(Image: The CW)

So with that in mind, we're taking a look back at the show's virtual press event where Leslie opened up on a number of topics before her premiere as the newest addition (so far) of The CW's Arrowverse. Here are some of the highlights:

Leslie's Empathy for Ryan Wilder's Situation: "[Ryan] gives you that first-hand story. Like, you know, to, to really know what the, what it's like to have to live through that [homelessness]. I know for me personally, when I was growing up and we'd get off the freeway, there would be panhandlers on the side that my mom and I were used to, like, we'd see them all the time and we'd always give them money. And I always wondered what was their story. And I think that what's really dope about what we're doing this season is you get to see Ryan's story and how she ends up where she is. And a lot of it is just, it's the system and being lost in the system and not having support in the system."

On Why Not Just Anyone Can Put on the Batsuit: "It is the suit, but the person also has to be worthy to carry that legacy. And that's kind of the journey that Ryan goes on because when she first gets the suit, like me, when I first got the job, you question whether or not you're worthy of what this really represents, what this legacy means. And as she goes on her journey and she, well you'll find out whether or not she becomes worthy, but it's really the journey of owning, owning her Batwoman-ness."

On Playing a Role Model for the LGBTQ Community & Women of Color: "It's an honor. It's frustrating that this is the first. You know, it really shows, man, we have so much work to do, because in 2021, this should not be a first… When I was growing up, I didn't see versions of myself on the screen, especially in superhero, you know movies and television shows. I remember when I was growing up, I saw like two black female superheroes, and technically Catwoman's not really a superhero. So I saw one. And Halle Berry played both. So to be able to kind of like be a vessel in this industry that allows other people that, either look like me or walk the same path that we, the three of us women walk, I think it's important. I think that we deserve to have representation. And so, yeah, it's, it's an honor. I'm really, really, I'm really blessed to be a part of the beginning of this journey for us."

On Respecting the Past While Forging Her Own Take on Batwoman: "We were actually in the middle of quarantine when I received this audition and I had time to really kind of dive into the world. I tried to make sure I did most of my, I put most of my energy towards my Ryan. I didn't go outside of that, I didn't try to do too much research. I wanted to just develop my Ryan because Ryan can exist anywhere. And I knew that that was important and that's where it would be grounded and that's where it would be most believable. And so I worked on that. And then after the audition, after the booking, I went back into the world of Gotham, the world Batwoman, the world of Batman, just so that I can be reminded of the, you know, the essence, the energy…she's a nobody, and it needed to show that she was a nobody. So I couldn't allow her to be too influenced by what has already played on television or in movies."

Batwoman Star Javicia Leslie "Put Most of My Energy Towards My Ryan"
Photo: The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Here's your look at the next chapter in Ryan's new life with The CW's Batwoman returning this Sunday with the second episode, "Prior Criminal History":

Batwoman season 2, episode 2 "Prior Criminal History": DOWNRIGHT BATTY — After her quick spin in the Batgear, Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie) is back to facing the daily challenges of life as herself. Meanwhile, Alice (Rachel Skarsten) has a new, devious plan to get the attention of both Gotham and Safiyah (guest star Shivaani Ghai). With Kate still missing and the city in an uprising, Luke (Camrus Johnson) and Mary (Nicole Kang) are desperate to find a stand in. In a pinch, Ryan dons the suit again and comes face-to-face with Alice for the first time. Back at Crows Headquarters, Sophie and Commander Kane try to uncover who may have had a vendetta against Kate. Carl Seaton directed the episode written by James Stoteraux and Chad Fiveash.

In season two of Batwoman, when Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie) first discovers Kate Kane's Batsuit, she has no idea how drastically her life is about to change. A sassy, smart lesbian with a difficult past, Ryan sees the suit as her chance to finally be powerful and no longer a victim as she survives in the tough streets of the city.

Batwoman Star Javicia Leslie "Put Most of My Energy Towards My Ryan"
Photo: The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

While Ryan goes rogue in the shadows, Gotham grapples with their missing hero, believing Batwoman has fled the city after a public stand-off with Commander Jacob Kane (Dougray Scott) and the Crows. But Kate Kane's disappearance hits hardest at home where Jacob, Sophie (Meagan Tandy), Luke (Camrus Johnson), Mary (Nicole Kang), and even Alice (Rachel Skarsten) each struggle with the devastating news in their own way. Meanwhile, the False Face Society tightens its grip on Gotham, distributing a perilous new drug known as Snakebite, "Bruce Wayne" (Warren Christie) finds his way home to wreak havoc, Safiyah (Shivaani Ghai) surfaces with plans for revenge, and a new set of villains descends on the city.

batwoman
Photo: The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

It's not long before Ryan realizes how much the symbol on the suit means to Gotham, launching her on a personal journey that takes her from fledgling substitute to confident caped crusader, from living in her van with her plant to chasing villains in the Batmobile. Ryan Wilder becomes a very different Batwoman than Kate Kane – her own Batwoman – but with the same understanding of what it means to be a hero.

Batwoman Star Javicia Leslie "Put Most of My Energy Towards My Ryan"
Photo: The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Based on the characters from DC, Batwoman is from Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television with executive producers Greg Berlanti (Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl), Caroline Dries (The Vampire Diaries, Smallville), Geoff Johns (Arrow, The Flash, Titans), Chad Fiveash (The Vampire Diaries, Gotham), James Patrick Stoteraux (The Vampire Diaries, Gotham) and Sarah Schechter (Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl). Shivani Ghai (Dominion, The Catch), Leah Gibson (Jessica Jones), Nathan Owens (Devious Maids), and Alex Morf (Gotham) join the second season's cast.

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About Jimmy Leszczynski

Jimmy Leszczynski has been blurring the line between comics and reality at SDCC every year since 1994, and was a nerd long before Lewis, Gilbert, and the Tri Lamdas made it cool. Middle aged father of 2 that REFUSES to grow up, lifelong Bat-Fan, and he thinks he's pretty funny.
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