Batgirl Fans Rally in Attempt to Reverse the Film's Cancellation
Warner Bros. may soon have another #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement on its hands.
The studio recently decided to shelve Batgirl, an upcoming DC Extended Universe movie starring Leslie Grace in the titular role. The film, intended for release as an HBO Max exclusive, was canceled due to the "desire for the studio’s slate of DC features to be at a blockbuster scale." Studio insiders also noted, "the decision was not driven by the quality of the film or the commitment of the filmmakers." The film is estimated to have cost between $70 and $100 million at the time of its cancellation, which is roughly half of what The Batman, the last theatrically released blockbuster DC film, reportedly cost to make. Whatever the reason for the film's cancellation, fans are not happy and have taken to social media to voice their displeasure at Warner Bros. and to actively campaign for the film's release under the hashtags #ReleaseTheBatgirlMovie and #SaveTheBatgirlMovie.
Batgirl initially entered development in March 2017, with Joss Whedon hired to write and direct the film. He eventually left the project and was replaced by Christina Hodson as the film's writer and Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah as the directors in April 2018 and May 2021, respectively. Grace was cast in July 2021 and filming officially began in Glasgow, Scotland in November 2021, with production wrapping in March 2022. The cast for Batgirl included J. K. Simmons and Michael Keaton, reprising their roles as Commissioner James Gordon and Bruce Wayne/Batman, respectively, from previous DC media. Brendan Fraser was also set to appear as the film's main antagonist, Ted Carson/Firefly, a disgruntled veteran who became a sociopathic pyromaniac. Jacob Scipio, Ivory Aquino, Rebecca Front, Corey Johnson, and Ethan Kai were also set to star.
Batgirl Seemed Like a New Beginning for the DCEU
Batgirl was originally set to be the first film released after The Flash, which was rumored to end with a new, rebooted DCEU timeline. El Arbi had previously hinted that there would be a connection to other DC films, saying fans would need "to see the other [DC] movies to understand what happens." The directors also revealed that their Batgirl movie blended the "darker" side of the DCEU (seen in films like Man of Steel and Suicide Squad) with the more vibrant side (seen in Shazam!). They also hinted at "homages to the comic book, homages also to the animated series of Batman, and the Tim Burton movies."
Batgirl was at one point going to be the first DC film released exclusively on HBO Max, with films based on Blue Beetle, The Wonder Twins and Black Canary also in development for the streaming service. The Wonder Twins was canceled in May 2022 and Blue Beetle was given a theatrical release in December 2021. It is unknown at this time what the current status is on the upcoming Black Canary movie.