After decades of being an integral character in Batman’s corner of DC Comics lore, not to mention one of pop culture’s most famous superheroines, the time has come for Barbara Gordon, a.k.a. Batgirl, to lead her own movie. Batgirl has been in development for the DC Extended Universe since 2017, but 2021 is when the project really started chugging along. Bad Boys for Life directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah were tapped helm the movie that Birds of Prey’s Christina Dodson, and that was followed months later by casting announcements.
Batgirl is now filming, and while a release date hasn’t been set yet, it will be an HBO Max exclusive rather than play in theaters like the past DC movies. While we wait for official plot details, it’s worth going over who will make up Batgirl’s main cast, starring with the actress playing the title superheroine.
Having already made a name for herself as a singer and songwriter, Leslie Grace made her film debut in 2021 playing Nina Rosario in the John Chu-directed film adaptation of the Lin-Manuel Miranda-created musical In the Heights. Just a month after that movie came out, Grace was cast as Barbara Gordon in Batgirl, and by January 2022, we got our first look at the actress in her superhero costume. Grace’s version of Barbara spends her days working at the Gotham City Police Department, and while it’s unclear right now if Batgirl will depict how she becomes a crimefighter or if she’s already been at the crimefighting game for a bit, at least we she’s skilled at using one of Batman’s most popular intimidation tactics: dangling a criminal out of a window.
J.K. Simmons briefly appeared in Justice League (both versions) as Commissioner James Gordon, but he didn’t share that much screen time with Ben Affleck’s Batman, and since The Flash is serving as the swan song for that version of the Caped Crusader (unless Ezra Miller knows something that we don’t), evidently we won’t see those two together again. Fortunately for those who liked Simmons’ Gordon performance, he’s back for Batgirl. Like his comic book counterpart, this version of Gordon is Barbara Gordon’s father, and while nothing is confirmed just yet, it stands to reason he’s not aware his daughter is a vigilante. It also looks like Batgirl will deliver a flashback featuring Gordon taking place when Barbara was still little.
Just because Ben Affleck is done playing Batman doesn’t mean the DCEU will be without that particular superhero going forward. Michael Keaton is donning the cape and cowl again for The Flash, and evidently the events of the Scarlet Speedster’s solo movie will result in Keaton’s version of Bruce Wayne being inserted into the DCEU, since it’s been confirmed he’ll appear in Batgirl. That being said, there’s no word yet on how much we’ll see of Keaton in this DC movie and if he’ll even appear in costume. It’s previously been reported that Keaton’s Bruce will serve “in a mentor capacity” in this superhero franchise, so instead of seeing Batman and Batgirl fight side by side, maybe we’ll just see the former give the latter some crimefighting pointers.
Brendan Fraser’s been on one hell of a run lately, from starring in Steven Soderbergh’s No Sudden Move to getting to work with Martin Scorsese in Killers of the Flower Moon. Fraser also has DC experience under his belt playing Cliff Steele/Robotman in the HBO Max series Doom Patrol, but he’s not done leaving his mark on their corner of the superhero landscape. The actor will star in Batgirl as Garfield Lynns, a.k.a. Firefly, a longtime member of Batman’s rogues gallery who is obsessed with fire. We’ll have to wait and see if Firefly is causing trouble on his own during Batgirl or will be partnered with someone else (like perhaps Killer Moth, as those two teamed up in Batgirl: Year One), but either way, Fraser’s character will be turning the heat up on Barbara Gordon.
Batgirl is taking a huge step with LGBTQ+ representation, as transgender actress Ivory Aquino, best known for the docudrama When We Rise, has been cast as Alysia Yeoh, Barbara Gordon’s best friend. Alysia was introduced during Gail Simone’s run on the Batgirl book during the New 52 era, becoming Barbara’s roommate when Barbara decided to move out of James Gordon’s home. After they became close, Alysia revealed to Barbara that she’s transgender, and now the character will get to shine in a film setting. As with J.K. Simmons’ Gordon, though, we don’t know yet if Aquino’s Alysia will know Barbara is Batgirl or is being kept in the dark.
Batgirl marks Jaco Scipio’s second outing with Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, having previously worked with the directors on Bad Boys for Life. Scipio’s credits also starred as Hatchet in 2019’s Without Remorse, and he’s starring alongside Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham in The Expendables 4. Unfortunately, as with everyone else on this list going forward, no official details about Scipio’s Batgirl character were included when his casting was reported. Is he a good guy or bad guy? Established character or someone original? For now, that’s a mystery.
Rebecca Front has appeared in a lot of British productions, most notably playing Nicola Murray in The Thick of It, and those who saw Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard will recognize her as the therapist. As for guesses on who she could be playing in Batgirl, Front is around the right age to potentially be playing Barbara Gordon’s mother, who, in some stories, is depicted as having either divorced James Gordon or just walked out on her family. Maybe the Batgirl movie will show Leslie Grace’s Barbara reuniting with her mother, but let’s also not discount the decent chance that Front is simply playing a different older woman in the heroine’s life, like a neighbor or a fellow officer at the GCPD.
Corey Johnson is no stranger to comic book movies; in addition to having starred in 2004’s Hellboy, Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class and Kingsman: The Secret Service, he’s also appearing in the Jared Leto-led Morbius. Now he’s lending his talents to Batgirl, and given how many authority figures he’s played in the past, it’s easy enough to imagine him as a policeman in the DC movie. That said, I’m also not willing to rule out Johnson playing a criminal connected to Firefly.
If Ethan Kai looks familiar, you’ve likely seen him playing Kasim Sebet in the British soap opera Emmerdale. Regarding his role in Batgirl, a set photo was taken of Kai and Leslie Grace holding hands. Now, when it comes to love interests, Barbara is most famous for being paired with Dick Grayson, a.k.a. the first Robin/Nightwing. So it makes sense why some people might think Kai is appearing as Dick in Batgirl, especially considering that a photo was taken of a mural for the movie showing Batman and Robin together. However, Murphy’s Multiverse shared a photo of a trailer belong to an actor playing someone only identified as “Jason.” This could mean Kai is actually playing Jason Bard, a GCPD police officer who was romantically involved with Barbara in the comics.
Now you’re caught up on who’s appearing in Batgirl, but make sure to keep your eyes peeled here for any additions to the main cast. We’ll also be sure pass along when Batgirl’s official release date is announced as part of our coverage on upcoming DC movies.
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