HBO Max's Batgirl Movie: 5 Quick Things We Know About The DC Film

Barbara Gordon is Batgirl

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The last time we saw Batgirl in a live-action film, it was Batman & Robin, which is widely considered to be one of the weakest Batman movies ever made and the portrayal of Barbara Gordon (rewritten as Alfred Pennyworth’s niece, Barbara Wilson) is a key reason why.

More than 20 years later, a new film is currently being developed for HBO Max that could potentially help rewrite the history of the DC movies and ensure that one of the most important and beloved members of the Bat Family receives a cinematic legacy to be proud of. While the Batgirl movie is still in its early stages, there are enough facts that we know about it already to get the biggest fans of superhero movies excited, but when to expect the flick is not one of them.

The Batgirl movie will streaming exclusively on HBO Max

The Batgirl Movie Does Not Have A Confirmed HBO Max Release Date

It was in March 2017 when Ben Affleck was still Batman and a new movie about Gotham City’s young, female vigilante, Batgirl, was greenlit by Warner Bros. The announcement came not long after The LEGO Batman Movie’s Chris McKay was hired to direct a Nightwing movie that would follow Dick Grayson’s post-Robin alter ego. However, just like that film, behind-the-scenes complications involving the DCEU’s future and the loss of its writer and director (which we will get to soon) stunted production on the Batgirl movie.

Luckily, with a new home at HBO Max, it appears that the movie is closer to becoming a reality than ever. Unfortunately, we still have yet to confirm when we can expect to stream it. A date among the 2022 movies schedule sounds likely, though, especially since the movie has already found its star.

Batgirl star Leslie Grace in In the Heights

Leslie Grace Stars In The Title Role Of The Batgirl Movie

Batgirl has been portrayed on screen by various women since she debuted in the mid-1960s, from the late Yvonne Craig on the classic Batman TV show opposite Adam West and Burt Ward, to musician Savannah Welch, who is slated to appear as an adult Barbara Gordon on Titans Season 3. Coincidentally, Leslie Grace - the actress leading the upcoming Batgirl movie cast - is also a musician.

The 26-year-old Latina made her feature-film debut as Nina Rosario in In the Heights, an adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit Broadway musical that put her many talents on full display. Rarely is someone so fresh in the acting game offered a follow-up of this magnitude. Of course, she will not be alone, as Batgirl has also already cast the titular superhero’s famous father.

J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon in Justice League

J.K. Simmons Is Reprising Jim Gordon In The Batgirl Movie

Before his Oscar-winning role in Whiplash made him a household name, J.K. Simmons was best known from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies as Peter Parker’s overbearing boss J. Jonah Jameson. In 2019, he returned to the role for the mid-credits scene of Spider-Man: Far From Home to a host of delightfully shocked fans. The Marvel movies star is pulling another unexpected comic book movie character reprisal.

J.K. Simmons was cast as James Gordon in 2017’s Justice League and will be returning to bring another side of the trusted police commissioner to live-action cinema for the first time: Barbara Gordon’s father. This also means that Simmons will be one of two actors playing Bruce Wayne’s GCPD confidante in a movie in 2022 since Jeffrey Wright joined The Batman cast as a different Jim of the DC Multiverse. Speaking of, Simmons’ involvement is the only evidence we have so far that the Batgirl movie is canon to the DCEU, along with the previous credits of its screenwriter.

Margot Robbie in the Christina Hodson-penned Birds of Prey

Christina Hodson Is Writing The Batgirl Movie

Quickly becoming one of the most prominent screenwriters of her generation is Christina Hodson, especially for the work she has done with the DCEU. She followed up the 2018 Transformers prequel, Bumblebee, with another acclaimed spin-off to a hit film, Birds of Prey (which actually featured Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain - a character who becomes Batgirl in the comics) before penning The Flash, which is currently filming with both Ezra Miller and Ben Affleck reprising their Justice League roles.

For her next contribution to the superhero movie genre, Christina Hodson is writing the Batgirl movie, which was essentially saved from development hell when she was hired in 2018. What initially seemed to doom the film was when Joss Whedon exited the project earlier that year, leaving the film without a writer and director. Fortunately, that position has also been filled, and doubly so.

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in Bad Boys for Life

Adil & Bilall Are Directing The Batgirl Movie

Belgian filmmakers Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah exploded onto the American mainstream by directing Bad Boys For Life - the third installment of the action-comedy franchise starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. It earned the duo (collectively credited as Adil and Bilall) several more exciting gigs, including Beverly Hills Cop 4 and the pilot for one of the most anticipated upcoming Marvel TV shows, Ms. Marvel. That series will only be the first time they help bring a notable female superhero to the spotlight.

In May 2021, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah will direct the Batgirl movie around the same time that the film was confirmed as an HBO Max exclusive. Producer Kristin Burr, who has recently been involved with movies like Dora and the Lost City of Gold and Disney’s Cruella, commented on how the duo’s “excited and joyous energy” will lend to Christina Hodson’s script, which she described as “crackling with spirit.” It sounds like this “Batproject” really is in good hands.

We live in an age in which Gal Gadot’s solo Wonder Woman movie in 2017 proved to be one of DC’s greatest critical and commercial successes and Scarlett Johansson was finally given her time in the MCU spotlight with Black Widow in 2021. Therefore, it's about damn time that a character as influential to young comic book readers (or audiences in general) as Batgirl is having her moment and with such wonderful talent involved. The future DCEU (if this film does exist in it, that is) has never looked brighter.

Jason Wiese
Content Writer

Jason Wiese writes feature stories for CinemaBlend. His occupation results from years dreaming of a filmmaking career, settling on a "professional film fan" career, studying journalism at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO (where he served as Culture Editor for its student-run print and online publications), and a brief stint of reviewing movies for fun. He would later continue that side-hustle of film criticism on TikTok (@wiesewisdom), where he posts videos on a semi-weekly basis. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.