Joss Whedon will not write and direct Warner Bros. Pictures’ Batgirl.
“It took me months to realize I really didn’t have a story,” Whedon said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. Whedon’s association with Batgirl began in March of 2017 when he was first spotted on the Warner lot. Soon, it was announced he would write and direct the project as part of a mini-Bat franchise within the DC Films universe which was intended to include Matt Reeves’ The Batman and Chris McKay’s potential Nightwing film.
Soon thereafter, it was revealed that Whedon, was also assisting in rewriting scenes for the then-upcoming Justice League. Following director Zack Snyder’s personal tragedy and departure from the film, Whedon directed the reshoots as well. In the wake of the Justice League upheaval, some wondered if the Batgirl announcement was meant as a cover for Whedon’s work on the film. When it was finally released, many thought the end result was Frakenstein assemblage of Snyder action and Wheonesque quips.
Sources told THR Whedon could not “crack the code” of a Batgirl film even as Wonder Woman was shining a light on how DC Comics heroes could be presented on screen. In an odd twist, Whedon’s script for an earlier Wonder Woman attempt resurfaced in the lead-up to the release of Patty Jenkins’ film; revealing his grasp of that character also failed to “crack the code.”
In his statement, Whedon thanked the management at Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment for being “so welcoming when I arrived, and so understanding when I… uh, is there a sexier word for ‘failed?'”
The future of Batgirl is unclear. According to recent reports, Nightwing is considered a “low priority” on Warner’s DC slate while it manages the Wonder Woman sequel, Shazam!, the immanent release of Aquaman and an unrelated “Joker Origins” project. Batgirl will no doubt end up with a status downgrade unless someone can “crack the code.”
Shame Whedon, noted feminist and bowling jersey collector, couldn’t just look at the Cameron Stewart/Brendon Feltcher/Babs Tarr run of the series to get a clue. Or, perhaps, that take on Barbara Gordon was not considered “code-breaking” enough. Maybe Gail Simone or Hope Larson have a few ideas.