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It has been a minute since Warner Bros. first announced plans for a Batgirl movie, but with the announcement Bad Boys For Life directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah will be at the helm, it appears the female-centric superhero movie is one step closer to becoming a reality. Of course, any time that new information about the DC movies comes out, it only inspires more questions, such as what other characters should we expect to see fight alongside young Barbara Gordon’s alter ego in her first live action outing since Batman & Robin in 1997. Well, we actually have a few ideas of who else we would like to see appear in this long-awaited comic book adaptation, which is being made exclusively to stream on HBO Max, starting with one decidedly obvious choice.
First and foremost, I firmly support the belief that this new Batgirl movie should genuinely be a Batgirl movie through and through and not a Batman movie that also has Batgirl in it, which is what the majority of the “Batgirl movies” have been (see 2016’s Batman: The Killing Joke as a prime example). I only recommend an appearance of the Dark Knight since it was he who inspired Barbara Gordon to become a superhero in the first place, but to avoid stealing the show, I would say it should be relegated to a brief cameo or introductory flashback. Whether this would mean getting Ben Affleck back for another go round, adding on Robert Pattinson, or casting a whole new actor as the Caped Crusader depends on whatever continuity the producers intend to go with.
If the new film is, in fact, intended to be canon to the other movies in the DC Extended Universe, perhaps it would be appropriate to reference Batgirl’s connection to the Birds of Prey from the comics (as the true founder, to be exact) by having a character from the 2020 film adaptation of that superhero team make a demo. For instance, many critics and audiences agreed that a highlight of Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn (or Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey as it was later changed to) was Lovecraft Country star Jurnee Smollett as Black Canary. A pair-up between the two vigilantes was a bit of a rarity until the New 52, in which they were depicted as frenemies, which would be an interesting dynamic to incorporate into the film.
That being said, an arguably more intriguing aspect of Batgirl’s social life to pay homage to in the film would be romance, specifically the one she has shared with Dick Grayson in the comics and even in some previous adaptations. Of course, I would certainly be open to seeing Barbara Gordon and the former Robin maintain a strictly professional, platonic relationship, too, if not one that also includes occasional flirting or subtle references to a romantic dynamic that they may have previously had at one time. To be perfectly honest, I am down for whatever depiction of Nightwing the producers would be willing to choose for this new flick as long as it brings us somewhat closer to seeing the character finally get his own movie one day.
Of course, I cannot forget to mention Commissioner James Gordon - a person no Batgirl movie would be complete without given the fact that he is the young female hero’s father (depending on what comic book continuity we want to follow, that is). The trick, however, would be to determine how involved with the story he should be and if it should just be a flashback to before her vigilantism at the beginning or if Barbara Gordon’s struggles to tiptoe around her dad’s suspicions while secretly working the same case should be a major plot point. I might be up for either, but I would be even more interested with making Jim actually aware that his Barbara is Batgirl and have then team up in a unique father-daughter collaboration.
They say that a comic book movie (or any movie with a distinct good vs. evil complex, really) is only as good as its villain and, therefore, I think it will be very important that Batgirl be given a strong antagonist to face off against and not just another recycled Batman villain. The character actually does have several notable names in her own rogues gallery, such Mary Turner - an assassin bred from tragedy whom the Court of Owls would employ as a Talon. She would eventually go rogue and become a new member of the Birds of Prey, which could inspire a fascinating story arc for the movie, too.
James Gordon Jr.
On the other hand, if we really want to bring in a villain with a fascinating arc, no member of Batgirl’s rogues gallery is grimmer or more personal than her own adoptive brother. James Gordon Jr. In a DC Comics continuity that branches off of Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One and depicts Barbara Gordon as the orphaned niece of Jim Gordon, Jim’s biological son, James Gordon Jr., is revealed to be a remorseless, murderous, and elusive psychopath. With Adil and Bilall behind the camera, I imagine they will want to go dark with this film, is what is darker than Batgirl being forced to go head-to-head with family?
There are so many stories led by Batgirl to borrow from the comics and so little films that put the character in the spotlight that the possibilities of what this solo film could be are endless. Thus, this Batgirl flick is one of the most exciting upcoming superhero movies on the horizon in my book and I cannot wait to see what and who she comes at odds with. However, is there a character you believe is most deserving to have a part in the film and, if so, who?