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The Villains Javicia Leslie Wants To See On Batwoman - Exclusive

When she debuted as Batwoman on The CW earlier this year, Javicia Leslie joined a long list of actors who've had to step up to fill another star's shoes in an iconic superhero role. Even within that distinguished group, though, Leslie's situation was a little different. Season 1 of Batwoman brought the live-action debut of Kate Kane, the best-known Batwoman from DC Comics, but when star Ruby Rose announced she was leaving the series, the show's creators decided they could do more than just find someone else to embody Kate Kane. Instead they devised an entirely new character, Ryan Wilder, and looked for the right actress to step into the role. As Leslie prepared to debut Ryan on The CW, she was very aware of the legacy she was stepping into, even as a new character. She opened up about this particular challenge during an exclusive interview with Looper.

"I respect the character of Kate Kane. I think Kate Kane is our original Batwoman. And so, when Ryan comes in and she has to come in under the shadow, honestly, of Kate Kane, she can't but help respect the legacy of Kate Kane because that's the only Batwoman Gotham knows," Leslie says. "And they both have a connection that you'll see later on, too. It's almost [like] without actually physically doing it, Kate Kane passed the torch. And so I completely respect the journey that the actress that played Kate Kane had to go through and it feels like a blessing to be able to take my turn at this journey."

Leslie's turn as Batwoman's lead has already been an eventful one after just a few episodes, and she's already making Gotham City her own. That's true on several levels, whether we're talking about locations, ongoing storylines, or that hallmark of all Gotham City stories, supervillains.

Javicia Leslie's supervillain wishlist

Leslie's Ryan Wilder stepped into a Gotham City underworld that was already full of threats, chief among them the continued presence of Alice (Rachel Skarsten) and her Wonderland Gang. Of course, there's also the ongoing masquerade of Tommy Elliot (Gabriel Mann), who Ryan went toe-to-toe with in his Bruce Wayne guise (played by Warren Christie) at the end of the season premiere. Even beyond those characters, though, there's much more to contend with on the villain front, including the continued presence of characters like Magpie (Rachel Matthews) and new arrivals like Victor Zsasz (Alex Morf) and the mysterious criminal mastermind Safiyah (Shivaani Ghai), a woman even Alice is afraid of. 

But of course, an ongoing superhero series means there's always room for more villains to pop up later in the series, and being a longtime superhero fan herself, Leslie has her own ideas about who she'd like to face. 

"I can't pick just one, but I can definitely pick at least two," Leslie said when asked about her dream Batwoman villains. "It may be based off of how the actors portrayed these characters, but I love the Riddler, but it's also probably because of how Jim Carrey's played the character. And you know what, I would love to see a femme fatale like a Catwoman on our show."

Will these characters ever appear in Ryan Wilder's Gotham? We'll have to keep watching to find out. Batwoman airs Sundays on The CW.