The Hollywood Reporter is exclusively reporting that Joss Whedon has departed the Batgirl feature project, which he was brought onboard for last year.
Batgirl, whose alias is most generally known to be that of Commissioner James Gordon’s daughter Barbara Gordon, first appeared in DC Comics in 1967 and has featured over various animated series, as well as live-action form on the small screen through Batman and Birds of Prey, as well as featuring on the big screen in Batman & Robin and recently The LEGO Batman Movie.
In a statement to THR, Joss Whedon said:
Batgirl is such an exciting project, and Warners/DC such collaborative and supportive partners, that it took me months to realise I really didn’t have a story. I’m grateful to Geoff and Toby and everyone who was so welcoming when I arrived, and so understanding when I…uh, is there a sexier word for ‘failed’?
The report also says that sources claim that even as Whedon faced story issues, giving the cultural entertainment spotlight at the industry over the last six months, a male filmmaker may have faced greater public scrutiny if he were to have tackled a film with such feminist importance on a project like Batgirl.
Joss Whedon signed on to the project in March 2017 to write and direct, then in May he was brought on board to film the Justice League reshoots after Zack Snyder departed due to a family tragedy. Last week however, entertainment reporter Josh L. Dickey, who was leaving the industry, decided to let everyone know that Snyder was actually fired by Warner Bros. a few months before the family tragedy. If Dickey’s sources are true, is it fair to question whether Joss Whedon was actually attached to the Batgirl properly in the first place? In terms of the timeline of events, it makes sense that the Whedon/Batgirl news served more as a smokescreen for what was going on behind the scenes. After all considering how many years and comics Batgirl has been running for, I find it hard to believe that Whedon was finding it difficult to cement a story for a feature.
If the WB do search for a female filmmaker who would you like? Should cinematographer Rachel Morrison get her due after her work over the last few years? Or would you prefer a Greta Gerwig/Saoirse Ronan package deal for director/lead? Or perhaps Mudbound’s Dee Rees? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. (Also who would you like to see cast in the role of Batgirl?)