For those excited about the upcoming Batgirl movie, bad news, the film is no more. The DC Comics film starring Leslie Grace as the titular hero was almost finished but according to IGN, it appears that the chiefs at Warner Bros. Discovery have decided against releasing the film in theaters or on HBO Max.
Batgirl, starring In The Heights Leslie Grace as Barbara Gordon, franchise returnee J.K. Simmons as her father Commissioner Gordon, Brendan Fraser as the villain Firefly, and Michael Keaton reprising his role as Batman was set to be an HBO Max feature focusing on Batgirl’s origins. Sadly for those involved in the film’s production, it was a product of the previous Warner Bros. regime. The Wrap understands that the new regime at Warner Bros. Discovery — following the completion of a major company merger in April — didn’t believe that Batgirl was worthy of release. A completely damning verdict for any production, let alone one that has spent at least $90 million on its production and had Michael Keaton starring as Batman.
The Hollywood Reporter writes that the reasoning behind Batgirl being terminated was budgetary. Along with Batgirl, Warner Bros. Discovery has also axed Scoob!: Holiday Haunt. However, it is clear that ever since Man of Steel kicked off the DCEU, the Warner Bros. franchise of superhero films has been nothing short of disjointed. Henry Cavill’s Superman, perhaps the most iconic of all DC characters has been left sitting idle on the shelf whereas multiple Batmen are circling a variety of projects. Ben Affleck’s Batman had seemingly hit a dead end before now being reintroduced in The Flash, which also sees the return of Michael Keaton’s Batman. However, The Flash has received continual bad press thanks to its star Ezra Miller being tangled in a series of controversies.
Warner Bros. and DC have also had a lot of trouble mirroring the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The negative reception of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League (the theatrical version) has muddied the waters at the DCEU. The Aquaman and Wonder Woman films have set to continue where Justice League left off, but it is difficult to see where films such as Black Adam and Shazam! Fury of the Gods fit. Two of the most successful DC properties in recent times — Matt Reeves’s The Batman and Todd Phillips’s Joker — sit entirely within their own separate continuities. Because of all of this, Warner Bros. Discovery has decided the DCEU needs a dramatic reset and Batgirl has become the first victim.
It is said that part of Warner Bros. Discover’s plan to reimagine the DCEU is to have more products like Joker and that the studio chiefs are keen to find a figure that mimics the extraordinary achievements of Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige. Who that figure might be remains to be seen. Batgirl being shelved at such a late stage may seem to be quite a rash decision, but it serves as a strong statement of intent that the new Warner Bros. Discovery regime is keen to avoid past DC franchise mistakes.