Warner Bros. Discovery Exec Says Batgirl Cancellation Was Blown Out Of Proportion, Doesn't Mention Director Responses

Leslie Grace in Batgirl suit
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Going into this past August, the plan remained for the Leslie Grace-led Batgirl movie, which had already completed principal photography, to be released to HBO Max subscribers at some point in the future. Then came the announcement that Warner Bros. Discovery scrapped Batgirl, which not only rocked the world of DC movies, but Hollywood as a whole. Warner Bros. Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels is now saying that the Batgirl cancellation was blown out of proportion, although he didn’t mention how directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, nor Grace, felt about this decision.

Gunnar Wiedenfels spoke at the Bank of America Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference (via Deadline), and while discussing the scrutiny Warner Bros. Discovery has been going through since the two companies merged to the tune of $43 billion, he was asked if the company’s reputation had been negatively impacted among talent and agencies as a result of Batgirl and a number of HBO Max shows being cut. Wiedenfels answered:

Media likes to talk about media, I guess. We have healthy relationships with talent, and we are offering one of the best platforms for anyone in the creative space.

Gunnar Wiedenfels may consider the Batgirl discourse to be overblown, but there’s no question that this the movie’s cancellation was a surprising move. It’s one thing for a project to be cancelled in the preproduction stages, but Batgirl had already completed principal photography months earlier.  Also, Leslie Grace, Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah and the rest of the cast and crew didn’t learn about this decision until the public did. In response, Grace said she was proud of the work she did with everyone on the Batgirl team, while Arbi and Fallah said that while they were “saddened and shocked by the news,” it was a “privilege and an honor” to have been part of the DCEU. So they might beg to differ with Wiedenfels on whether talent are looking at Warner Bros. Discovery with a different perspective.

While specific plot details had been kept under wraps, Batgirl would have seen Leslie Grace’s Barbara Gordon clashing with Brendan Fraser’s Firefly, as well as featured the return of Michael Keaton’s Batman and J.K. Simmons’ Commissioner James Gordon, and used Killer Moth as a secondary villain. Although the movie’s budget had reportedly increased to $90 million, the Warner Bros. Discovery CEO brass apparently didn’t feel it was worth pouring more money into the production to make it a “big theatrical event film,” which is the plan for DC movies going forward under this new regime rather than make any that are released exclusively to streaming. As a result, WBD is taking a tax break on Batgirl by shelving it, and outside of the talent who attended the Batgirl “funeral screenings,” the footage will never be shown to the rest of the world.

Clearly the talk about Batgirl being scrapped isn’t dying down anytime soon, and CinemaBlend will continue sharing major updates on that front when they come in. The next DCEU entry up is Black Adam, which has released a new trailer and will hit theaters on October 21.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.