The Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah-directed Batgirl movie from DCEU, which was set for a late 2022 release on HBO Max, has been shelved by Warner Bros. according to recent news. Leslie Grace was cast as the lead role of Barbara Gordon/Batgirl back in July of 2021. Now a year later, just a few months shy of release, the whole project has been shelved.
DCEU’s decision of cancelling the release of the movie has been accredited for a couple of different reasons. But none that seems to please the fans. Most are dismayed over the fact that shelving a project like this is a disservice to the talents of the actors who worked on it, as well as the production crew.
Why fans were Excited for Batgirl:
One of the biggest reasons fans were excited about the movie was to see Michael Keaton as Batman once again. There were also rumors of a Robin finally showing up in the movie, which would further lead to a Nightwing solo outing from DCEU in the future. Brenden Fraser was also cast as the film’s villain Firefly, which again was another treat for the fans. But now all of that has been scrapped, or well, “shelved” indefinitely.
Also, the directing duo of Adil and Bilall was one of the most anticipated parts of the movie, apart from the cast. The duo has directed a couple of episodes for the Disney+ Ms. Marvel show for MCU, and those turned out to be really good. So it’s not a surprise that fans wanted someone like the duo, who understands comics and their live-action portrayal on a basic level, to helm such a project.
Not many people focused on the fact that Batgirl was not part of the DCEU panel during the San Diego Comic-con last month. Most believed that the reason was that DCEU just wanted to keep the audience’s focus on their two bigger releases – Shazam! Fury of Gods, and Black Adam. But now it’s easy to decipher why the movie was absent during the event altogether.
Reasons for Cancelling Batgirl:
Warner Bros. recently had a private screening for the Batgirl movie, with a select few guests. Unfortunately, the movie got a lackluster response during this viewing and is said to be the main reason why it got shelved. New York Post reported, that the initial screening got a really poor audience reaction, and made DCEU think on the future of the project once more.
The new head of Warner Bros. Discovery, David Zaslav, is a man of action and results. If a project is not going to get him good results, he would rather not put it out altogether, even if it has almost reached completion. Or at least that’s the inside scoop. Apparently, he is considering a complete makeover of all the characters that are currently in use in the DCEU – movies and TV shows combined.
Warner Bros. is currently taking a page out of Marvel Studios’ book and is trying to create a bigger universe, and apparently, the current Batgirl project does not fit into that. With a budget nearing almost $100M, largely owing to reshoots and COVID delays, Warner Bros. still thought it was wise to shelve the project instead of releasing it after the initial poor audience response.
But DCEU representatives have put emphasis on the fact that the studio has been very happy with the film’s lead actress Leslie Grace, and would be open to working with her in the future.
“The decision to not release Batgirl reflects our leadership’s strategic shift as it relates to the DC universe and HBO Max. Leslie Grace is an incredibly talented actor… this decision is not a reflection of her performance”
The same goes for the directing duo of Adil and Bilall. In what capacity or in which project DCEU might bring them into the fold is currently up in the air for debate!
Where can DCEU include Leslie Grace?
Other than Shazam! Fury of Gods and Black Adam, the next DCEU project that comes to mind (after the shelving of Batgirl) is the upcoming Blue Beetle movie which is set for a 2023 release. The movie is currently undergoing production, and it would not be far-fetched to somehow have Grace join the cast as Barbara Gordon or Batgirl to help out Jaime Reyes.
In the comics, Blue Beetle and Batgirl have worked together on multiple occasions, even if they don’t necessarily belong to the same team. So to have a cameo from Batgirl in the movie would not be a bad idea. This can easily set Batgirl into the DCEU, and in the future with some more work done, maybe Warner Bros. can take Batgirl out of the shelves and into our screens.
As for the directing duo of Adil and Bilall, we are sure DCEU can find a project that would suit them, and they can work their magic to bring it to life.
DCEU’s next project, Black Adam will hit theatres on 21st October 2022.