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Batwoman Fans React To Javicia Leslie As Ryan Wilder

After lead Ruby Rose decided against returning to the cape, cowl, and bright red wig in Batwoman season 2, the fledgling CW series faced an unwelcome challenge: finding and incorporating a new actress into the show. Instead of recasting Rose's character Kate Kane and continuing her storyline, the CW opted to bring an entirely new character into the fold. And after they announced Javicia Leslie would play the first Black Batwoman, many fans were eager to meet Ryan Wilder, while others wished they'd kept Kate around. Now that the first episode of the season has aired, fans can finally make their judgement on the new Batwoman.

First off, Ryan Wilder is not trying to be like Kate in the slightest. While Bruce Wayne and Kate both came from rich families, Ryan was raised in foster care and had a difficult childhood beyond the death of her parents. Even when she was finally adopted, her foster mom was killed, leaving her to struggle alone. When we meet Ryan in Batwoman, she's homeless and living in her van.

Batwoman season 1 ended early due to the coronavirus pandemic, and season 2 picks up with a big question on everyone's minds: Where is Kate Kane? The answer comes pretty quickly, as newcomer Ryan integrates herself into the familiar cast of characters. Most importantly, she turns what could have been a jarring transition  into something that is actually pleasing the fans.

Fans are loving Javicia Leslie and Ryan's story

There was plenty of doubt going into the season premiere about how Kate's disappearance, and Ryan's entrance, would be handled — but thankfully, fans are delighted by Leslie's entrance into the Arrowverse. 

On Twitter, @KxllxngEve wrote, "I absolutely LOVED the first episode. The whole cast is amazing. Ryan is a bad***, I can't wait to see how her story progresses. I'm loving her dynamic with Luke and Mary already." Fans pointed out that Ryan can relate to the existing characters Luke (Camrus Johnson) and Mary (Nicole Kang) over the trauma of losing a parent to murder.

Leslie's acting skills are also impressing many viewers, as Reddit user Zerometro commented that "Ryan is much better than her press release description due to Javicia Leslie's acting." They added that her character reminded them of the beloved teenage Batman, Terry McGinnis, from the animated series Batman Beyond, comparing how both characters accidentally come into the role. 

Meanwhile, some fans are already liking Ryan more than the Batwoman she replaced. Reddit user Catastray wrote, "What a great episode. Javicia Leslie was absolutely phenomenal, she has sold me on Ryan Wilder's story, and honestly, I like her more than Ruby Rose so far. I cannot wait for next week!"

Leslie has impressed even the fans who doubted her

A completely new lead is more than enough to make any TV viewer wary of a new season. Plenty of fans went into the episode expecting to be disappointed, but they were pleasantly surprised by newcomer Ryan. Reddit user DaGreatestMH commented in the post-episode discussion thread that they had previously just wanted Kate to be recast, but seeing Javicia in action changed their mind: "She brought a freshness to the show that I think was needed."

Reddit user BornAshes wrote that they were very upset about Kate leaving and had come into the season expecting very little, but were thoroughly impressed. They commented, "They dealt with Kate in a great way. Javicia is a...a force of nature. They were able to connect Ryan with the rest of the cast so quickly in such deep deep ways that clicked, made sense, and didn't feel contrived or lazy at all." By the end of the episode, BornAshes says, they were crying. Twitter user @kristi_ashton echoed these thoughts, saying, "I was worried I wouldn't like it not being Kate Kane's storyline but I was in love in a matter of minutes."

It's a strong start for Ryan Wilder, who is now left with the perpetually precarious safety of Gotham. New episodes of Batwoman air weekly on Sundays on The CW.