batgirl, yvonne craig, dc comics

DC’s New Batgirl Film & Who Might Play Her

Words: Jason Wolf
Photography: YouTube/Wilfred Eyre

Is this a dig to Marvel, and who should play Batgirl?

After inking a deal with DC Entertainment, filmmaker Joss Whedon will add to his growing list of Killer Bs: Buffy, Black Widow and now, Batgirl. Writer/director Whedon cultivated a strong presence in the nerd community with shows like Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Firefly, but was thrust into mainstream popular culture when he wrote and directed Marvel’s Avengers and its sequel. Tensions between him and Marvel Studios during the making of Avengers: Age of Ultron caused an exhausted Whedon to go underground though, only to emerge with the announcement that he will be helming a film for DC, Marvel’s competitor. Is this a direct slight to Marvel or is Whedon just rebounding? Plus, speculation on possible casting choices for the upcoming Batgirl film ahead…

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Joss Whedon & Marvel

Joss Whedon was quoted as saying he was “beaten down by the process” of making Age of Ultron, forced to barter with the studio for scenes he felt necessary to the integrity of the film. He ultimately capitulated to their demands but, despite delivering high praise for his work and being Marvel’s go-to guy for rewrites on all MCU films, the endeavor soured ties with Marvel to the point where relations with the studio were cut altogether. After two years of audiences being unsure whether Whedon would step into the director’s chair of a major studio release again, DC announces they’ve hired him to make the first-ever Batgirl film for their extended universe of comic book movies.

Ostensibly, this move seems like Whedon might be throwing shade at Marvel by signing on with their rival. Although he previously was very warm and professional when speaking of his working relationship with Marvel, things no doubt became embittered. But, feuding drama aside, this decision seems more logical than scandalous. 

Whedon & Female Protagonists

Joss Whedon is known to champion two things: nerd culture and strong female protagonists. His track record began with “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” which, despite featuring goofy and dated plot elements, was a show that portrayed a kick-ass girl fighting her own fantastical battles whilst navigating one of the emotionally complex and arduous periods of adolescence. Audiences responded to his female heroines, and he’s been one of Hollywood’s more vociferous voices for female representation ever since. Couple that with the fact that he’s long been vocal about his interest in the Batgirl character and this project may have just been too juicy to resist.

 

Casting Ideas

Quick backstory. Multiple comic book characters have donned the Batgirl cowl, but the preeminent favorite is Barbara Gordon, daughter of Gotham’s Commissioner Gordon. She’s typically seen as a teenager but, seeing how the D.C.E.U. features a middle-aged Batman, it’s possible they’ll go with a Batgirl who’s in the later stages of her crime-fighting career.

Two intriguing younger options would be Anya Taylor-Joy or Hailee Steinfeld. Taylor-Joy’s career is on the rise, starring in progressively bigger films like The Witch, Morgan and Split. Hailee Steinfeld caught people’s eye years ago as the child-lead in True Grit, but really started raising eyebrows for her Golden Globe-nominated performance in Edge of Seventeen. Both actresses fit the bill in terms of age appropriateness, budding talent and experience.

If we were to see a battle-tested Batgirl in her mid to late thirties, why not Kristen Bell, or reuniting Joss Whedon with Sarah Michelle Gellar? Bell hinted for years that she was eager to play DC villainous Harley Quinn, but, since she missed out on that opportunity when Margot Robbie was cast in the role for Suicide Squad, hopefully she could be amenable to joining the fight with the good guys. And as for Gellar, nerds will go apoplectic with excitement if she teamed back up with Whedon. But, the direction and shape of this film will become more evident when more casting and plot details are revealed in due time. 

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