Getting fans back onboard for the DCEU, and its ever growing plans will be a process. First, Wonder Woman and Justice League need to be more than just box office successes, but also a success among the critics and fans. Second, Warner Bros. needs to demonstrate they have a long term plan for this universe. Previously, the studio had announced films slated all the way through 2020, but the slate has drastically changed over the past few months. Lastly, the studio needs to live up to their previous claims of being “a filmmaker driven studio”. This means getting the right talent for these projects, and letting the filmmakers create without any studio interference. Warner Bros seems to have the right idea as they’ve been talking to big time directors, like a Mel Gibson and a Matthew Vaughn. Now we can officially add Avengers 1 & 2 director Josh Whedon to the list.
A report from Variety says that Whedon is close to making a deal to write, direct, and produce a standalone Batgirl movie. Their report claims “The project will also feature other characters from the world of Gotham.” No specifics are given on exactly which characters will appear, but considering that Gotham City Sirens (Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, & Catwoman) has been in development for months, and the recent announcement for a Nightwing standalone movie, it could be more than just Ben Affleck’s Batman making an appearance. Soon after word of Whedon’s potential involvement in the DCEU, a report from Entertainment Weekly (via. Collider) had details on which direction the Batgirl standalone movie could go. Along with the news bit, Collider also wrote up a fascinating backstory on the character of Batgirl, and her popularity growing in the comics throughout the 80’s.
Entertainment Weekly reports that Whedon’s Batgirl movie will indeed focus on Barbara Gordon and draw inspiration from The New 52, DC’s recent run of revamped classic comic book characters that kicked off in 2011. The report says Whedon will look to the New 52 as “a starting point,” so expect him to bring his own spin to the material should the movie make.
Backstory on Batgirl:
The character’s popularity skyrocketed and she landed her own stories, as well as popping up across the DC universe in Superman and Justice League. Until the ’80s came along and put a bullet in her back. Alan Moore‘s iconic Joker-centric comic Batman: The Killing Joke saw Barbara Gordon kidnapped and crippled by the Crown Prince of Crime in a controversial storyline that Moore himself has since denounced.
While Barbara Gordon’s career as Batgirl was put to a stop, she carried on as a key Gotham vigilante under the name of Oracle, a hacker who uses her intelligence to dig up key information for her superhero pals. While Gordon was out of the action, she remained a key player in the DC universe, lending her skills to Suicide Squad, Birds of Prey, Justice League America, Green Lantern and a number of other DC titles during her tenure. During that time, a number of characters took over the title of Batgirl until DC’s New 52 reboot put Barbara back in the suit.
Which brings us back to the New 52, the comic book reboot that “cured” Gordon of her paralysis with an experimental surgery and gave her a solo title once again. Gail Simone built up the classic character as a modern woman, pursuing higher education and coping with her lasting trauma from the Joker’s attack. The character was revamped once again to huge success in 2014 when writers Brenden Fletcher and Cameron Stewart, and artist Babs Tarr came on board and gave Babs a lighter tone and a bit of a hipster makeover in what’s known as the “Burnside” era.
Whedon’s involvement in the DCEU is no doubt great news for comic book fans. His resume as a writer/director for both of Marvel’s Avengers movies speaks for itself. Assuming Warner Bros grants him full creative control for the Batgirl standalone, which seems to be the case based on reports, this could be a huge project to follow in the steps of Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel as far as representation for female led comic book films in Hollywood. Hopefully things go well, and we get an official confirmation from Warner Bros on their new deal with Whedon.
Sources: Entertainment Weekly, Variety, Collider.