There are big things happening over at Warner Bros. Discovery and amidst a number of big decisions the company has made, shelving the nearly-completed Batgirl movie has confused many. Fans were eager to see the Leslie Grace-led movie released, but after the latest news, it doesn’t seem likely that will happen.
If there is any hope of it happening though, it should be said that fans (and anyone with an HBO Max subscription) deserve to see the movie. Here’s why even the casually invested should be interested in the DC movie, and why it’s a shame we may never get to see this project in theaters, on streaming, or any other medium.
Batgirl Hasn't Appeared In A Live-Action Movie Since 1997
Despite the fact she’s a well-known member of the Bat family with several prominent storylines in DC lore, we haven’t seen a lot of Batgirl in the movies. In fact, the last time we saw an iteration of Batgirl in live-action was in the 1997 movie Batman and Robin. And, while Alicia Silverstone is forever an icon for that role, it’s worth noting that her “Barbara Wilson” was not a character who was accurate to the actual Batgirl, Barbara Gordon.
The now-canceled Batgirl was going to give us Barbara Gordon, and allegedly explore more of the character’s domestic life with her father and Gotham police chief Jim Gordon. Additionally, we’d get to see Barbara Gordon, a character that’s existed in DC Comics since 1967, in Gotham. Now, we don’t know if or when we’ll even get another opportunity for that, and that’s a real shame.
Batgirl Was A Big Opportunity To Further Diversify The DC Film Universe
Hollywood made great strides in recent years in further diversifying roles for actors and actresses in Hollywood, and Batgirl was going to be another big step in that direction. Leslie Grace was coming in as the first Latina lead in a DC Universe movie, which felt like a pretty big deal. It felt like a big step in shaking up the landscape of what the Bat Family looks like, and a chance to maybe take some chances on switching things up with other characters like Robin (who also needs more live-action appearances, but that’s another story).
DC has done a lot better in diversifying its big-screen hero roster in recent years, but there’s always room for improvement. Cutting roles like this doesn’t send a great message, and hopefully isn’t indicative of a trend to come with DC movies. The upcoming ten-year plan needs to include other opportunities for more diversity in the DC film universe.
DC Doesn't Have Many Female-Led Hero Movies
DC made great strides compared to decades past by bringing characters like Wonder Woman to the big screen and even made Harley Quinn a household name and star of her own movie (basically). These are great things for sure, but with the future of DC movies currently in flux, there are questions about what will come next.
We already know that Batgirl is unfinished, and may never see the light of day. There’s also a rumor floating around that the Supergirl spinoff project is dead, which would take another female-led feature off the board. Wonder Woman 3 feels like it’s safe from any purge of projects, but what about Zatanna? There’s also a Black Canary movie in development, and we’re not sure what’s happening with that, either. We’ll see what happens, but even if every other project survives outside of Batgirl, there’s still room for improvement.
The Movie Was Cancelled In Post-Production
THR’s report on Batgirl stated the film was “deep” into post-production when it was canceled, meaning it was much closer to being finished than not. It’s a decision that many people are confused about, especially given the alleged excuse to shelve the movie for a tax write-down. Fans can’t watch a tax write-down. Tax write-downs don’t get the fans roaring in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con.
Batgirl was a project that people are excited about. Hell, even Kevin Feige, who has curated the MCU, was trying to pry secrets from directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah about this movie (via Game Rant). When someone like Feige is prying and curious on details for an upcoming DC movie, that gets me really excited about that movie. Hearing that movie was shelved, and apparently not viewed as quality, does not instill my confidence in the future of DC even if it’s illogical to connect the two.
We're Missing Out On A Key Piece Of The 'Brenaissance'
Brendan Fraser’s Hollywood comeback, or “The Brenaissance,” is in full swing. Batgirl was poised to be another exciting role for the actor, and not a role that we’re used to seeing him in. Fraser was set to play the villain Firefly, and his costume looked pretty damn cool. It’s not often we get to see Fraser play a villain in a movie, let alone a superhero movie.
While there are plenty more things to be upset about when it comes to the cancellation of the Batgirl movie, but I think we’re all within our rights to also be bummed about missing what could’ve been an iconic performance by Brendan Fraser (especially given as nuanced as Firefly sounded). Luckily he has other exciting movies on the way, which helps lessen the sting a little.
We’re Also Missing Out On Michael Keaton’s Batman
Michael Keaton’s Batman is a symbol of the peak DC movie-going experience. He helped put Batman on the map, and he’s gotten a cool new role in the latest era of DC Movies. Keaton was poised to return as his Batman not just in The Flash movie, but in Batgirl and Aquaman 2 as well.
Well, that was the case up until the Aquaman 2 test screening repotedly had audiences confused why he was there, and of course, the Batgirl movie is no longer happening. As such, it seems whatever big plans there were for Keaton’s return got drastically reduced, and there’s no telling if that’ll be rectified in the future.
DC Is No Stranger To Poorly Received Movies
DC pulled Batgirl due to an alleged quality issue, but as any comic book movie fan might ask hearing that statement, when has that stopped Warner Bros. before? The studio has given us iconic DC films over the years, but it’s also delivered a good deal of critically panned hero movies. We’re all familiar with Catwoman and Batman & Robin, but let’s be honest there’s far more than that.
Hell, even Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice is sitting at a 29% approval rating and only 63% audience score. We don’t really talk enough about how the first live-action Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman team-up movie should’ve been a home run, and let’s not even get into the Justice League debacle. I bring up all that to say, could Batgirl have been that bad?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like any of these reasons are going to change Warner Bros. Discovery’s thinking on whether Batgirl warrants release. At least for now, anyway, but if the Snyder Cut fandom taught us anything, it’s that persistence pays off.
Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.