Birds of Prey’s Jurnee Smollett-Bell Cannot Wait to See Javicia Leslie Play Batwoman

Batwoman fans were met with a pretty pleasant surprise earlier this month, when it was revealed that Javicia Leslie has been cast as the show’s new titular character. Leslie’s role on the hit The CW series came after the departure of Ruby Rose, who stepped down from her role as Kate Kane shortly after the Season 1 finale. While fans will still have to wait until at least January to see Leslie portray the fan-favorite character, a lot of people are ecstatic about her casting — including fellow DC star Jurnee Smollett-Bell. Smollett-Bell, who portrayed Dinah Lance/Black Canary in Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) earlier this year, recently took to Twitter to reveal that she participated in a Zoom call with Leslie and “other fierce talents”, and that she officially has “a girl crush” on Leslie, and is excited to see her portray Batwoman.

While the pair’s iterations of Black Canary and Batwoman don’t exist in the same continuity (but are technically connected by the DC multiverse), fans will surely be hyped about Smollett-Bell’s support for Leslie. Smollett-Bell’s portrayal of Black Canary was met with a warm response from fans, many of whom were happy to see her take on such an iconic character.

“She’s the Dinah Lance that we know and love from the comics, you know?” Smollett-Bell revealed last October. “This ferocious street fighter. When we meet Dinah in the film, though, she’s a singer in Roman’s Black Mask club, and she’s kind of disenfranchised and disconnected from the world. She doesn’t really want to have anything to do with crime fighting or being a good-doer, which is so against her nature because we know Dinah to be all heart. So it’s really about her accepting her gift and accepting her power and that’s what was so fascinating for me is to explore this woman who has such strength, but exploring someone who doesn’t want to own her power.”

Instead of stepping into the role of Kate Kane, Leslie, who is known for her roles on God Friended Me and The Family Business, will be portraying an entirely new character named Ryan Wilder. Ryan is described as 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.


“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 said in a statement when the casting was first announced.

Batwoman is scheduled to return with new episodes in January of 2021.

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