New Batwoman Javicia Leslie Cites Catwoman Eartha Kitt as Idol

Batwoman Javicia Leslie

The first Black actress to play Batwoman cites the first Black Catwoman as a great inspiration.

Appearing at DC Fandome on Saturday, Batwoman newcomer Javicia Leslie shared during the BAWSE Females of Color Within the DC Universe panel, “I’ve always truly admired Eartha Kitt,” who of course was one of the actresses to play Catwoman on the 1960s Batman TV series.

“But I admire Eartha Kitt even outside of acting,” Leslie added. “I love her for her activism and the fact that she used her art for activism, and just her mentality in general — the things that she would say and how dynamic they were, and the power that she had as a woman.”

Later in the day, during a “Legacy of the Bat” panel, Leslie reflected on her casting. “I found out an hour before everybody else” and at first “was pretty shocked,” she said. But then as she got to reviewing the assorted reporting, she saw a reference to her “making history by being the first Black woman to play Batwoman, and then it changed for me,” the God Friended Me alum shared.

Being able to introduce the first Black Batwoman is both “huge” and “awesome,” series showrunner Caroline Dries said during the “Legacy of the Bat” panel. Previewing the transition ahead in Season 2 (premiering in 2021), Dries reiterated that Kate Kane (played by Ruby Rose in Season 1) will have disappeared, and thus still be a part of the story. Then, in choosing her successor, “I decided to make a character named Ryan Wilder who is the opposite of Kate Kane,” said the EP. “Ryan Wilder is a character that Batwoman needs to protect, so it provided a rich, new, storytelling device for us.”

Want scoop on Batwoman, or for any other show? Email InsideLine@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.