Holy Grace, Batman, they’re killing off our Batgirl!
In a major turnaround, Warner Bros. has pulled the plug on its $90 million initiative to bring a female superhero to the screen. Directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, the Batgirl project was initiated in 2021 as part of Warner’s strategy to create features for the HBO Max platform. Also axed was Scoob!: Holiday Haunt, which reportedly cost the studio $40 million. Sources said, the Studio insiders insist the decision to axe “Batgirl” was not driven by the quality of the film or the commitment of the filmmakers, but by the desire for the studio’s slate of DC features to be at a blockbuster scale, and also trying to recoup its losses via tax write offs.
Batgirl was already in post-production when the axe fell this week. It’s being speculated that the draconian decision to send Batgirl back to the cave represented a shift in the studio’s strategy concerning HBO vs. theatrical release. Warner Bros. merged with Discovery in May of 2021 and its new top honcho David Zaslav is reportedly keen on cutting costs and prioritizing theatrical releases over streaming. Since the merger, a number of other films have been cancelled, such as Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, The Last OG. and Chad as well as a DC Comics flick of The Wonder Twins that was in development.
Leslie Grace had been cast in the role of Barbara Gordon/Batgirl with Michael Keaton reprising his role as Batman (he also does the same in The Flash). J.K. Simmons was to play the role of the Batgirl’s father, Commissioner Jim Gordon, and Brendan Fraser had been tapped to play the villainous Firefly.
In an interview earlier this year, Grace said “I had to summon up some things in me that I didn’t even know were there. It was an incredible learning experience. … There’s some crazy stuff that happens. There’s lots of fire because as everyone knows by now, he plays Firefly. There’s crazy fire. There’s crazy stunts, crazy drops. She’s a biker chick, so you’re going to see her do a bunch of badassery.”
The 27-year-old Grace is an actress, singer, and songwriter who has won three Latin Grammy nominations. She most recently starred as Nina Rosario in Jon M. Chu’s 2021 film In the Heights.
The move left Hollywood industry stunned, but certainly, no one was as stunned as the people who made the movie. Here’s the statement of Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah.