A Black woman will star in the television series Batwoman, a first for the superhero in live-action television or film, the CW network said on Wednesday.
Javicia Leslie, who is also bisexual, will take on the cape and cowl for the CW television show when it returns for its second season in January.
Leslie replaces Australian actress and model Ruby Rose, who was the first openly lesbian lead superhero on US television.
"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 honoured to join this groundbreaking show which has been such a trailblazer for the LGBTQ+ community," Leslie said in a statement.
Leslie's Batwoman will be nothing like her predecessor. The character, described by the network as "likable, messy, a little goofy and untamed," spent her life as a drug runner and now lives in a van.
Her casting follows efforts by Hollywood in recent years to diversify the portrayal of comic book superheroes.
The Eternals movie, due out in February 2021, will debut the Marvel film franchise's first gay superhero along with actor Kumail Nanjiani as the first Pakistani superhero in a mainstream Hollywood movie. In 2018, Nicole Maines, a transgender woman, filled the first transgender superhero role on television in the CW series Supergirl.
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Javicia Leslie is the new #Batwoman: "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" https://t.co/3MglgRybNr pic.twitter.com/B3f8jeiaJX
" Variety (@Variety) July 8, 2020
(With input from Reuters)