Batgirl's Cancellation Means 3 Important DC Firsts Won't See The Light Of Day

Leslie Grace in Batgirl suit
(Image credit: DC)

Early this month, DC fans were dropped a huge bombshell in the form of Batgirl getting cancelled by Warner Bros. despite roughly $90 million being spent on the project and the movie already being filmed. Not only is this a huge and unprecedented surprise for the studio, the decision hurts a few major strides in the representation of a number of minority groups for a movie that certainly would have been seen by many, whether it was released theatrically or directly to HBO Max subscribers

Let’s talk about the fallout in diversity the cancellation of Batgirl took a hit with. It’s something that Kevin Smith recently ranted about, calling it “an incredibly bad look” for the studio. And this goes not only for the creatives involved, but the many fans who could have seen themselves with Batgirl’s release.  

Batgirl And Afro-Latina Representation 

Leslie Grace was cast as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl, becoming the first Afro-Latina to lead not only a DC film, but any major superhero film. The actress, who had just come off a breakout role in In The Heights, could have become a hero for young and old Latina, Black and mixed race people to look up to within the DC universe. It’s a tough blow and rather disrespectful to the actress’ work on it alongside her cast and crew. One Variety report claimed that Warner Bros is still hoping Grace will play Batgirl in a future DC film, but we wouldn’t blame her if she’s a bit sour about her initial film getting scrapped. 

Additionally, Batgirl was set to feature the first trans character in a DC film with transgender actor Ivory Aquino playing Alysia Yeoh in the movie. Alysia is a character from the Batgirl comics who goes from being Barbara’s roommate to a close friend of hers. With LGBTQ+ representation still thin, Alysia's inclusion would not only have been a major step in the right direction, but one perhaps focused on allyship within the queer community rather than a romance angle. 

Two Rising Directorial Talents Lose Out Too 

Then there’s the fact that two rising directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah now have a cancelled movie on their resume. The pair of directors who originally hail from Morocco previously helmed Bad Boys For Life and episodes of Ms. Marvel, and with these projects, they’ve really shown they have a unique eye to bring to Hollywood films. And yet, while they were in the middle of post-production (not even finished with their cut, mind you), Warner Bros pulled the rug out from under them. 

The Future Of Representation In DC

In general, Warner Bros’ DC movies have been primarily about white male heroes. Among the upcoming DC movies, the studio does have Blue Beetle, which will feature Latino representation, and Static Shock is reportedly in the works, but a little extra love for diversity never hurts, and Batgirl being cancelled definitely sends DC in the opposite direction here. All that is on top of the many other reasons fans deserve Batgirl, such as Michael Keaton’s return as Batman, Brenden Fraser’s Firefly and the title hero getting a solo moment for the first time in a cinematic setting ever. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.