DC's live-action universe has had a fascinating life thus far, and is showing no signs of slowing down. Full of peaks and valleys, the still infant franchise is constantly announcing potential projects, while giving no concrete release schedule like Marvel typically does. It's unclear which of these developing movies will come to fruition, including Batgirl.
When it was announced, the Batgirl movie was going to be helmed by The Avengers and Buffy The Vampire Slayer director Joss Whedon. But Whedon eventually dropped the developing project, claiming he simply didn't have the right story in mind for the beloved heroine. But it looks like the movie is still moving forward, being written by Birds of Prey screenwriter Christina Hodson. When asked about its release and development, she recently revealed:
It looks like Christina Hodson has been very busy lately, between writing both Birds of Prey and the Batgirl movie. And while the former is going to be hitting theaters first, at least we know Batgirl's flick is still on its way to theaters.
Christina Hodson's comments to Comic Book Movie are sure to be a relief to some DC fans, who are hoping for more of the Bat-family in the current live-action universe. Joss Whedon seemed like the perfect director to bring Barbara Gordon into live-action, but his exit seemingly put the project in jeopardy. Plenty of DC projects have fallen to the wayside over the years, and Batgirl seemed like a prime candidate to follow suit.
Luckily, the project is still being developed, and Christina Hodson is handling the screenplay herself. As long as Birds of Prey ends up being a success, it seems like Barbara Gordon will get her own spinoff shortly thereafter. DC may be on the upswing starting with James Wan's Aquaman, so hopefully the success keeps going with the next few films before Birds of Prey.
The female-centric DC movie is actually titled Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), and will serve as a standalone film, as well as a spinoff for Margot Robie's Suicide Squad character. The upcoming blockbuster will bring a ton of iconic DC females into live-action, including Huntress, Black Canary, and Renee Montoya. All of those femme fatales have already been cast, but the actress who is going to play Barbara Gordon/Batgirl is still a mystery.
It's possible that Warner Bros. hasn't landed on someone to play Batgirl, which sense if the Batgirl movie is still in the works. This isn't a one film deal, as the actress will star in her own spinoff shortly after. Regardless, each casting announcement has been leaked before an official announcement was provided by the studio, so we'll likely know who is playing Batgirl soon after she's chosen.
The fate of the Batgirl movie seems largely dependent on the performance of Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). While ground work is being laid and Barbara Gordon will make her debut in the universe in that ensemble film, Batgirl might get the can if Birds of Prey does poorly. So the pressure is on for Cathy Yan to deliver a successful blockbuster with her upcoming DC debut.
That being said, Birds of Prey does seem to have a lot going for it. The most obvious weapon it has is Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn. The fan favorite DC villainess made her live-action debut with David Ayer's Suicide Squad, and is largely known as the film's saving grace. Birds of Prey is one of many announced projects starring Quinn, and will introduce her to other Gotham City ladies, as well as Ewan McGregor's Black Mask.
Birds of Prey will likely take place in Gotham City, which will excite endless DC fans out there. Batman is arguably the most popular comic book character ever, and his locations and supporting characters are beloved. As such, seeing Bat-family members Huntress and Batgirl on the silver screen is enough to put plenty of butts in seats. Add in iconic rogues Black Mask and Harley Quinn, and any respectable Bat-fan will be showing up to theaters when Birds of Prey arrives in 2020.
It should be interesting to see how Batgirl continues to develop, as the project is currently a complete mystery-- save for the inclusion of Christina Hodson. The project was originally announced in March of 2017, it seemed like one of the most exciting potential projects the DCEU had cooking. Joss Whedon seemed like an inspired choice as director, given his tenure with strong female characters in Buffy, Angel, Dollhouse, and his work with Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow in the MCU.
But Joss Whedon dropped the project after failing to craft a compelling enough story, one he thought was worthy of an iconic character like Barbara Gordon. And since then, there's been no news on that project, as Warner Bros. focuses on other movies like Shazam!, Wonder Woman 1984, and Birds of Prey. But with Batgirl set to make her debut in the latter, the time has come for DC to commit to her solo movie's development.
Bringing Batgirl and other members of the Bat-family into the spotlight of the DC Universe is no doubt a way to satiate fans, given how precarious Ben Affleck's tenure as Batman seems to be. Affleck has long been rumored to be making his way toward the door, and his current focus on substance abuse issues only seems to put the role in more jeopardy. Despite being the thread that connected Justice League with Suicide Squad, there's no guarantee that Affleck's version of Batman will return to the silver screen.
With Matt Reeves actively developing The Batman, the timing with Batgirl's solo flick and Birds of Prey role is particularly fascinating. Perhaps the new Batgirl will be included in that movie, helping to bring a new Batman actor into the fold. Really, the possibilities are endless.
Batgirl will arrive in the DC Universe when Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) hits theaters February 7th, 2020. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your trips to the movies in the New Year.
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Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.