Batman is DC Comics' heaviest hitter, so Warner Bros is making sure to spread the love to other members of his supporting cast, good or bad, for the DC Extended Universe. Along with the Caped Crusader's new solo movie, Nightwing and Gotham City Sirens are in development, and last week, it was announced that a Batgirl movie is in the works that may be written, directed and produced by Joss Whedon. All that's been revealed so far about this project is that it will star Barbara Gordon, the most famous Batgirl, and it will reportedly be based off Gail Simone's Batgirl run from The New 52.
With all the other DCEU movies Warner Bros has on their slate, it's unclear when the studio will announce when it will hit theaters or provide official details on what fans can expect from the story. Still, the idea of Batgirl leading her own movie is exciting, so while we wait for more information, here are the main things you need to know about the superheroine before her movie is released, both from her comic book adventures and some detours into other media.
She Was Requested For The Batman TV Series
Although Bette Kane, a.k.a. Bat-Girl, debuted in the comics in 1961 (more on her later), the Barbara Gordon Batgirl was primarily created due to the '60s Batman TV series wanting a heroine for the show that would attract more female viewers. Before Barbara debuted in Batman Season 3 (played by Yvonne Craig), she was introduced to the comics in Detective Comics #357, a.k.a. "The Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl," where she donned her vigilante identity for the first time and met the Dynamic Duo. In both the comics and the Batman TV presentational short that convinced the network to bring her into the show, Barbara's first foe was Killer Moth. Thanks to the two-pronged approach in 1967, Batgirl quickly became popular and has remained one of the more recognize superheroes in pop culture.
She's Commissioner Gordon's Daughter
Depending on the continuity, Barbara Gordon is either Commissioner James Gordon's biological daughter or his adoptive daughter, but either way, he loves her with all his heart. It was from James that Barbara absorbed knowledge about law enforcement, as well as learned how to defend herself even before she put on a mask and cape. While James remains unaware that Bruce Wayne is Batman (in some stories, he deliberately chooses to not learn the Caped Crusader's secret identity), he quickly discovered that Barbara had become a costumed vigilante, though he didn't say anything to her about knowing until she choses to make the revelation herself years later. With J.K. Simmons playing Gordon in the DCEU, ideally we'll see the father/daughter relationship fleshed out.
She's Been A Librarian And Congresswoman
In addition to being a skilled fighter, Barbara Gordon is also extremely intelligent. Having received a Ph.D in library science, she eventually became the head of the Gotham City Public Library. In her early days in the comics and television, her career as a librarian made an effective cover for her, as it decreased the chances of people suspecting she was Batgirl. While Barbara is most frequently depicted as either working in a library or working to obtain a degree, there was a period in the early 1970s when she ran for higher office and won. Barbara continued to fight crime as Batgirl while serving in Congress, but after losing her re-election bid, she moved back to Gotham City and resumed teaming up with other members of the Bat-Family.
She Was Oracle For Decades
Even though Barbara Gordon is best known as Batgirl, she actually didn't battle crime using that moniker for over 20 years. After being shot and crippled by The Joker in Batman: The Killing Joke, Barbara was brought back by writers John Ostrander and Kim Yale in the Suicide Squad book as Oracle. Despite being confined to a wheelchair and no longer being able to jump off rooftops, Barbara used her computer skills to dispense information to other DC heroes. Barbara served as Oracle until the 2011 New 52 reboot, where in this altered continuity, she returned to being Batgirl after undergoing an experimental surgery that restored the use of her legs. The Oracle version of Barbara was played by Dina Meyer in the Birds of Prey TV show, as well as appeared in The Batman animated series and the video game Batman: Arkham Knight.
She's A Key Birds Of Prey Member
During her time as Oracle, Barbara Gordon co-founded the Birds of Prey superhero team with Black Canary and Huntress. While the latter two handled the traditional duties of beating bad guys into a pulp, Oracle put her computer skills to work behind the scenes. Upon becoming Batgirl again in the New 52, Barbara formed a new incarnation of the Birds of Prey, and as of the DC Rebirth relaunch (where continuity has once again been shifted and altered), Batgirl, Black Canary and Huntress have established a new alliance. Other members of the team over the years have included Lady Blackhawk, Big Barda, Katana and Poison Ivy. So far the Birds of Prey's most prominent appearance outside of the comics has been the same-named TV series, which only lasted 13 episodes, but with the DCEU introducing more superheroes each year, maybe this version of Barbara will get to team up with Black Canary and Huntress as this universe keeps expanding.
She's Already Had Some Movie Exposure
Along with appearances in TV and video games, Batgirl has had some time on the silver screen, although that's been a mixed bag. Sadly, her theatrical debut was in 1997's Batman & Robin, where she was played by Alicia Silverstone. That movie is not only considered by most to be the worst Batman movie, and Silverstone's portrayal (who was Alfred Pennyworth's niece rather than Commissioner Gordon's daughter) did not improve the story whatsoever. On the other side of the spectrum, Rosario Dawson voiced Barbara in critically well-received The LEGO Batman Movie, where she succeeded her father as the new GCPD commissioner and later donned the cape and cowl. This DCEU Batgirl movie will hopefully give the character some cinematic live action redemption.
There Have Been Other Batgirls
We've spent this list focused on Barbara Gordon, but it's important to remember that there have been other Batgirls in the comics. As mentioned earlier, Bette Kane debuted several years earlier as Bat-Girl, and in modern years she's adopted the alias Flamebird. The once-silent Cassandra Cain inherited the identity in 1999, and along with being the second longest-serving Batgirl, she also starred in her own solo series before Barbara was given that opportunity. Stephanie Brown, a.k.a. Spoiler, took over as Batgirl in 2009, but her tenure only lasted for two years, at which point the New 52 began. Helena Bertinelli (better known as Huntress) and Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe (a.k.a. Misfit) also served as Batgirl, but their time with that identity was quite short, so they're not on the "official" list. With Barbara back as the main Batgirl and the DCEU having big plans for her, it's highly unlikely we'll see anyone new or existing replace her in the coming years. Barbara as Batgirl is here to stay!