The Joss Whedon Batgirl movie is over before it begins. News broke last spring that Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment had wooed Marvel’s The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron filmmaker to write and direct a Batgirl movie for DC, which was greeted with glee and anticipation from fans. The other shoe dropped when it was revealed, a couple months later, that Whedon was taking over for director Zack Snyder on Justice League, which occupied his time for much of 2017 as he oversaw reshoots and post-production on the disappointing DCEU team-up film.
Now, with Justice League in the rearview, Whedon is departing Batgirl altogether. Speaking with THR, Whedon says he had trouble cracking what the story for a Batgirl movie could be and threw in the towel:
“Batgirl is such an exciting project, and Warners/DC such collaborative and supportive partners, that it took me months to realize I really didn’t have a story. I’m grateful to [DC president] Geoff [Johns] and [Warner Bros. Picture Group President] Toby [Emmerich] and everyone who was so welcoming when I arrived, and so understanding when I… uh, is there a sexier word for ‘failed’?”
Sources tell THR that after a year of working on the script, Whedon “couldn’t crack the code” for what a Batgirl movie should be. Moreover, in the wake of Wonder Woman, other industry sources note that Whedon and WB may have faced scrutiny if Batgirl was brought to the screen by a male filmmaker rather than giving that opportunity to a woman. Which is probably true, and while I still would’ve been interested to see what Whedon would do with this character on the big screen, it’s clear he worked hard to no avail.
Reports swirled earlier this week that Batgirl is likely on the immediate docket for the next round of DCEU movies, so either that report was wrong or Warner Bros. intends to forge ahead and keep Batgirl a priority as they search for a new filmmaker. The latter would seem to be a better option, and given how positive WB’s relationship with Patty Jenkins seems to have been on Wonder Woman, to such stellar results, one hopes they’ll focus on finding a female filmmaker to bring a unique creative vision for Batgirl to the screen.
As for Whedon, it’s unclear if he’ll remain in the DC fold or if he’ll move on to other projects. He was toiling away on his own original scripts when WB put up the Justice League batsignal for Whedon, so perhaps he’ll indeed be taking that superhero movie break that he intended post-Age of Ultron after all.