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Warning: possible spoilers for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice are ahead!
One of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’s persisting mysteries is who Jena Malone is playing in the "Ultimate Edition" home media release. The top rumors since her casting was confirmed in October 2014 pointed to her either being Carrie Kelley from The Dark Knight Returns or Barbara Gordon. Then last week, director Zack Snyder stated she’s neither Robin nor Batgirl, seemingly striking those two off the list. However, now there’s new information suggesting the latter is still a possibility, even if she won’t be wearing the cape and cowl.
With only two weeks to go until Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’s wide release, a Redditor claims to have seen the movie and posted a survey that Warner Bros. handed them afterwards. The survey lists some of the main players and asks the participant how much they’d like to see them in future ads for the March blockbuster. On it, Jena Malone is listed as Barbara Gordon. Now, assuming this survey is real (it could be something Photoshopped together), that means Snyder was being tricky when he mentioned Batgirl last time. After all, only the most hardcore fans know who Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown are. So if Malone is indeed playing Barbara in the DC Extended Universe, why was she cut out of the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice theatrical release? Taking into account that the "Ultimate Edition" is rated R, the movie might be giving us an adaptation of Barbara’s crippling from Batman: The Killing Joke.
For those not familiar with Barbara Gordon’s comic book history, Alan Moore’s 1988 story Batman: The Killing Joke had Barbara being shot by The Joker, crippling her from the waist down. This cut short her career as Batgirl, but she continued to be active as Oracle. For over two decades, Barbara used her computer skills to provide information to the DC superheroes and worked on teams like the Suicide Squad and the Birds of Prey. When the New 52 began in 2011, Barbara physically recovered and went back to being Batgirl, though she was still mentally dealing with the traumatic ordeal. The Killing Joke is being made into an animated movie later this year, and it’s easily possible that the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice "Ultimate Edition" features a flashback of Barbara being attacked by The Joker.
Remember, Ben Affleck’s Batman has been fighting crime in Gotham City for 20 years, giving him plenty of time to have several sidekicks. Jena Malone is 31, which means if Barbara’s around the same age, Barbara could have gotten involved in the Bat-lifestyle around 10 years before. Sometime before Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Joker shoots Barbara, and now she’s either not in contact with Bruce anymore or she’s active as Oracle instead. Such a scene might be too much for the younger moviegoers, which is why they’re saving it for the R-rated cut alongside the other intense, non-PG-13 appropriate action sequences.
We already know that Jared Leto’s Joker killed one of the Robins, so the audience wouldn’t bat an eye knowing he paralyzed a different member of the Bat-family. Plus, this also sets up Barbara for an appearance in the Batman solo movie, only as Oracle instead of Batgirl. Someone like Nightwing or the Tim Drake/Damien Wayne Robin could assist in the field, but Barbara could provide intel from her computer lair. It further shows how much history Batman has in the DCEU before he crosses paths with Superman and Wonder Woman. While battling Gotham City’s colorful criminals, he’s had assistance from the other people besides Alfred, and Jena Malone as Barbara could be one of those allies, whether she’s walking or confined to a wheelchair.
Since Jena Malone won’t show up when Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hits theaters on March 25, fans will just have to wait to see her until the "Ultimate Edition" is released later this year. In the meantime, if you have your own thoughts on Malone possibly being Barbara Gordon as Oracle, make sure to let us know in the comments below.