Admit it. You didn’t expect to read that headline today. But now your pulse is booming and you’re dreaming of all the possibilities that can come from this news. Why? Because all of our prayers have been answered!!! Nerd demigod Joss Whedon is working on a Batgirl movie.
Variety reports that Whedon is going to write, direct and produce a standalone Batgirl movie which will tie into the larger DC Extended Universe. The movie will also include other character from the Gotham lore (and — fingers crossed — could include a connection to the rumored Gotham City Sirens movie also in pre-production). Who’s in and who’s out is another discussion altogether, but right now… it’s all about Whedon.
He was already a familiar name in any geek household thanks to his work on acclaimed television shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dollhouse, and the short-lived Firefly. He was thrust into super-director mode when he directed The Avengers and its underappreciated sequel, Age of Ultron. He’s been relatively quiet behind the camera since the 2015 Avengers flick, but now his calendar will be filled as he jumps ship and heads over to the darker DC realm.
The addition of Whedon is a major coup for DC and Warner Brothers. The studio has been having issues with attaching top directors to their films. While James Wan was ‘all in’ on the Aquaman movie, Ben Affleck publicly stepped down from The Batman and numerous names have passed on The Flash. Now, a few weeks after getting Matt Reeves (another major grab) to take over The Batman, they pulled off a major win by netting Whedon to flesh out the story of Barbara Gordon.
Today’s news also confirms DC’s ‘one-upping’ of Marvel in their development of strong female characters. The studio will be the first to launch a female lead character in a superhero blockbuster movie when Wonder Woman hits theaters this June. There’s also the aforementioned Gotham City Sirens movie that will focus on the femme fatale that will rule the crime world. Now, they have a director with a strong history of developing amazing female leads to assert their lead over Marvel when it comes to female-driven movies.
This breaking news shouldn’t come as a shock either. It was about one year ago when Whedon talked about getting back into the comic book movie game. At the time, it appeared he was done with massive team-up style movies (and who could blame him). Instead, he talked about the smaller stories that appealed to him.
“Although I tend more towards the Jessica Jones-ey kind of stories than the delightful Supergirl stories that my daughter wants.”
Perhaps that was the impetus behind taking on Batgirl.
Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen the character in a major Batman movie. Twenty years ago, a red-hot Alicia Silverstone portrayed the character in the extremely campy (yet somehow entertaining) Batman & Robin. Although her character was changed to Barbara Wilson (and was made the niece of Alfred Pennysworth), she did eventually get her own Batgirl costume complete with tons of neat gadgets. It was fine at the time… but now in Whedon’s hands we’re sure to get a completely revamped version reshaped for the new, darker DCEU.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Once the dust settles, new questions will arise. Who will be the villain? Who is going to play Barbara Gordon? Will Ben Affleck be involved? Could Batgirl be introduced before her solo movie? These are all questions that will be answered in time. But for now, let’s just be happy with the fact that a great character is in great hands. Good luck Joss Whedon. Happy to have you on the DC train!