It was a sad time for fans of the Arrowverse in late April 2022 when The CW announced that it would not be renewing two titles from its popular shared universe of DC TV shows - namely Legends of Tomorrow and Batwoman. Seeing the latter get the boot after just three seasons is especially upsetting, as it had been exciting to see how Javicia Leslie - the first Black woman to lead her own superhero TV show - had reinvented the Gotham City vigilante after taking over for Ruby Rose’s Kate Kane as Ryan Wilder. Perhaps this cancellation is a sign that it is time for Leslie to switch gears…or, more accurately, universes.
Many actors have very smoothly gone from playing DC characters to playing Marvel characters (or just playing multiple comic book characters) and I think that someone as talented as Leslie could make the next successful transition between comic book worlds. In fact, I already have several ideas for whom she could play in some new Marvel movies (or TV show, even) for if and when the moment arrives. Allow me to share these picks with you below - starting with someone who, like Batwoman, is also a vigilante who makes up for her lack of powers with skill…and technology.
It was actually a bit of a challenge to find a female superhero who bore similarities to Batwoman and has not already been adapted for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Luckily, I think I found a pretty good match in Tamika Bowden, who would come to be known as Wildstreak.
After an accident left the Olympic athlete paralyzed, her father - renowned M.I.T. graduate Dennis Bowden - developed an exoskeleton that helped her regain her ability to walk and gave her enhanced speed, strength, and acrobatic skills. After playing the homeless Gothamite-turned-fearless vigilante Ryan Wilder on two seasons of Batwoman, I think Jevicia Leslie would be the perfect choice to portray this character’s rise above challenging obstacles to become an inspiring superhero.
On second thought, what if Javicia Leslie is interested in playing someone with supernatural gifts, but is still feeling a little homesick following the abrupt end of Batwoman? Well, my solution would be to cast her in a Marvel Comics adaptation as a legitimate bat-woman like Lilith Drake - a vampire whose intense hatred for her own father (the legendary Dracula himself) caused her to turn against her own kind with the help of heroes like Doctor Strange and even Spider-Man or the X-Men.
There are already a few MCU projects in the works that this anti-heroic bloodsucker could appear in - such as the upcoming Blade reboot with Mahershala Ali or director Michael Giacchino’s Halloween special for Disney+. However, what I would really like to see and would be really proud to see Leslie participate in is a movie or series about the horror-centric iteration of the Howling Commandos that also features a clone of Frankenstein’s Monster and a revived mummy.
On second thought, what if Javicia Leslie is still interested in playing someone with supernatural gifts, but is also ready to move on from the abrupt end of Batwoman and breathe life into something entirely different? Well, my solution would be to cast her in a Marvel Comics adaptation as - instead of a bat-woman - a cat-woman like Greer Nelson, otherwise known as Tigra.
Once a supermodel before taking up a career in the scientific field as a lab assistant, Nelson eventually earned herself a spot fighting alongside the Avengers after a race of cat people revived her from death by making her one of their own. Tigra almost got her own Hulu original animated series that would have paired her with Dazzler, until the idea was scrapped, but maybe it is time to revive that idea as a live-action Disney+ original series starring Leslie as the fierce, feline-esque hero.
You know, before I found Wildstreak, another powerless (but still quite powerful) vigilante whom I really wanted to recommend Javicia Leslie for was Misty Knight, who is probably the closest equivalent to Batwoman in Marvel Comics for her superb martial arts training, expert-level detective skills, and technological aid (i.e., her mechanical arm). That was until I remembered that she already exists in the MCU, as played by Simone Missick on Luke Cage. However, that would lead me to discover another character whose future inclusion in the franchise is still very possible and would be very, very cool to see.
In the comics, Luke Cage has a daughter with Jessica Jones named Danielle, who is usually depicted as not much more than an adolescent damsel in distress in the comics’ main, Earth-616 continuity. Yet, in Earth-15061, she is found to have inherited her mother’s strength and her father’s indestructibility and takes on the mantle of Captain America. Now, obviously, we’re not going to take away that title from Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson so soon, but I think it would be cool to see him team up with Leslie as Danielle Cage as a reference to that alternate version of herself.
Years before landing the title role of Batwoman, Javicia Leslie made her feature-length movie debut in 2016 with Swim at Your Own Risk. In the Lifetime original thriller (originally titled Killer Coach), she plays a talented high school swimmer whose secret relationship with her assistant coach takes a sinister turn. If she would be interested in utilizing her own real-life swimming skills in a project of a larger scale, I have the perfect character in mind.
Marvel Comics fans have been eagerly anticipating the MCU debut of Namor the Sub-Mariner for years, and I believe that when he does finally enter the franchise, so should his adoptive cousin, Aquaria Neptunia. More commonly referred to by her nickname, Namora, this half-Atlantean, half-human is one of the strongest and fiercest warriors under the sea and is of equal power to her cousin, if not more. Hell, instead of a supporting role in a Namor movie, I think Leslie would do great playing the character in her own flick.
Of course, if we really want to make Javicia Leslie’s transition into the MCU really special, then she deserves to play a character whose own transition into the MCU is highly, highly anticipated at the moment. I am referring to Ororo Munroe - otherwise known as Storm to her colleagues in the X-Men.
This mutant with the ability to control the weather, who would also become the queen of Wakanda, is one of the most powerful and iconic women and people of color in Marvel Comics. I imagine that it would be an honor for Leslie to follow Academy Award winner Halle Berry and Alexandra Shipp as the next actor to portray Storm on the big screen.
If a part in the Marvel movies or on any upcoming Marvel TV shows end up not being in Javicia Leslie’s future, it will surely not mean the end of the road for the actress. In fact, I would not be surprised if Ryan Wilder were to make a return on another series, such as The CW’s upcoming Bat-Family TV show Gotham Knight, or even in any upcoming DC movies, which would be Batwoman’s big screen debut.
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Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.