Batgirl directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah revealed that they were blocked from the project’s servers right before they learned about the cancellation, an action that prevented them from keeping footage from the film. In an interview for SKRIPT, the directors also reiterated how the movie’s quality was not considered for the project’s shelving.
Starring Leslie Grace as the titular superhero, Batgirl was initially scheduled to hit HBO Max sometime in 2022. However, despite the movie costing $90 million to produce, Warner Bros. Discovery decided to use the project for a tax write-down, a move that prohibits the company from ever making a profit with the footage they already had. So, as soon as El Arbi and Fallah learned about Batgirl’s cancellation, they thought about making a backup of some of the scenes they worked so hard to create. As Fallah tells it:
“Adil [El Arbi] called me and told me, ‘Go ahead! Shoot everything on your phone!’ I went on the server… And everything was blocked. There was no way to access the film. We were: ‘Fucking shit! All the scenes with Batman we didn’t get to keep!”
Batgirl was supposed to star Michael Keaton as the Batman, a role he hadn’t played for three decades since Tim Burton‘s 1989 Batman and 1992 Batman Returns. While we didn’t know the role Batman would play in the film, Keaton is also expected to show up as the Dark Knight for The Flash, a movie that’s still on track to be released. If Batgirl’s directors had been able to make a copy of the footage on their phone, maybe we could know how exactly both projects connected in the DC Extended Universe original plans.
During the interview, El Arbi and Fallah also underlined how the movie’s quality did not play a part in Warner Bros. Discovery‘s decision. After all, they were still in the middle of the editing process, before any VFX was added to Batgirl, and while some reshoots were still planned. As Fallah says:
“It was not a talent problem on our part, the actress, or even the quality of the movie. We were right in the middle of editing, there was still a lot of work to be done! It was not like the movie was finished. But they told us it was a strategic change. New management. And they could save some cash.”
Warner Bros. Discovery is currently working on their newly announced a 10-year plan for the DC Extended Universe, a strategy that apparently couldn’t exist with Batgirl. The company has also shelved the Supergirl and Wonder Twins movies, which means no unreleased project is safe until the DCEU finishes restructuring.