Warner Bros. execs have cancelled the upcoming Batgirl movie in post-production, due to a ‘strategic shift’ and fans have not been happy.
Outrage over the Batgirl film‘s shelving is already plaguing the internet. Warner Bros. released a statement to the matter this morning, noting how the film would not fit in their new business strategy for the DC universe and HBO Max, even after sinking $90 million on it through its current post-production state. This cancelled project has set a certain precedent as Warner Bros. also cancelled a sequel to the 2020 Scoob! feature, similarly close to completion with a budget of $40 million.
Warner Bros. issued an official statement on Batgirl’s cancellation: “The decision to not release Batgirl reflects our leadership’s strategic shift as it relates to the DC universe and HBO Max… Leslie Grace is an incredibly talented actor and this decision is not a reflection of her performance. We are incredibly grateful to the filmmakers of Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt and their respective casts and we hope to collaborate with everyone again in the near future.”
Leslie Grace (In The Heights) was set to play the titular DC character of Barbara Gordon (aka Batgirl) and the film was headed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah who previously worked on Ms. Marvel on Disney+. Grace would have been the first Afro-Latina to depict the popular character in live-action. Back in April 2022, Grace shared, “It’s such a thing, we haven’t seen a lot of Latino superheroes, or actors of Latin descent within the superhero world, so it was such a beautiful opportunity to be granted and a big responsibility as well.”
The cast already had tapped Michael Keaton to return as Batman and J.K. Simmons to play Barbara’s father, Commissioner Gordon from the recent DCEU canon films. Even Brendan Fraser was set to play the villain, Firefly. The film would have been groundbreaking for actor, Ivory Aquno as well for their role as the openly-transgender best friend of Batgirl, Alysia Yeoh.
Going deeper down the Warner Bros. rabbit hole, insiders reported that big-budget films no longer made financial sense for streaming services. Warner Media and Discovery recently merged to form Warner Bros. Discovery back in April—with new CEO David Zaslav taking on the head role. Zaslav stated how the studio would shift their focus back to prioritizing cost-cutting measures and refocusing on creating theatrical films over streaming site projects. This was the original plan from previous CEO Jason Kilar.
Many fans have taken to Twitter to voice their disappointment in the cancelled Batgirl project, “For a studio to throw out a $90-million dollar movie because it no longer fits the studio’s DC vision, it’s pretty unprecedented. If true, I expect more films to join.” Another fan added, “The Batgirl situation is sad for multiple reasons, but I think worst of all is that hundreds of people poured months into a project that’s gonna be swept away.”
Other talk coming out of the Warner Bros. studio has speculated the studio acted in the “best interest” as a “bad movie can set a character back years.” Fans’ shocked reactions are warranted, given the film’s rocky development: Joss Whedon was originally set to direct in 2017 but left, replaced by Adil and Bilall , coming off their mixed success reviving the Bad Boys franchise with Bad Boys For Life.
No further comments were made about the upcoming theatrical releases slated to release soon such as Black Adam and The Flash—the latter film still scheduled despite the Ezra Miller allegations. While this decision may seem insane on paper, it has begged the question how Warner Bros. will recoup the financial setback.