James Gunn and Peter Safran, the new heads of DC Studios, had a lot to say recently about their 10-year plan to rebrand the company. And along with a non-committal response about whether Colombian American actress Sascha Calle would return to play Supergirl after she debuts the character in The Flash this summer, they also got some side eyes when they explained why DC’s Batgirl movie starring Dominican American actress Leslie Grace was shelved.
“I saw the movie,” Safran said. “There are a lot of incredibly talented people in front of and behind the camera in that film, but that was not releasable. It happens sometimes.”
Safran didn’t expand on why he believed Batgirl was “not releasable,” but he did add that he thought Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav “made a bold and courageous decision to cancel it because it would have hurt DC and those people involved.”
If Safran is referencing the quality of the film, his comments square with what the New York Post was reporting last summer when news of Batgirl’s axing was blowing up the internet. According to their source, the movie was a “DC disaster,” so “the studio decided to cut its losses and run, for the sake of the brand’s future.”
Looking toward that future, Safran said that Batgirl is “a character that inevitably we will include in our story,” but made no mention of Grace returning in the title role. He also said he recently spoke to [Batgirl directors] Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah and would “love to be in business with all of them.”
Safran added that Batgirl “would not have been able to compete in the theatrical marketplace” and that “it was built for the small screen,” but didn’t explain why they’re not releasing it on HBO Max if that was the case.
Reports indicate that Warner Bros. Discovery chose to take a tax write-off to recoup the cost of the movie. According to Variety, Batgirl was not “big enough” for a major theatrical release “nor small enough to make economic sense” to stream it on HBO Max.
And the internet wasn’t having it.
Some cited the tax write-off as an excuse that they aren’t buying.
Others were insulted that Batgirl “would have hurt DC” but Ezra Miller’s Flash movie wouldn’t, especially considering the legal woes and accusations thrown their way. From disorderly conduct to grooming, and brainwashing, Miller has had several worrying incidents in the past year.
There were others that were pointing out that 25 years since Alicia Silverstone played Batgirl in the 1997 film Batman & Robin. And how they’d love to see her again sometime in the future.
Some fans even pointed out that DC has no leg to stand on, especially when they gave the green light for Jared Leto’s Joker, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, and the general release of Wonder Woman 1984. All three were met with pushback, from over the top characters to problematic storylines.
And some were just done, especially Batgirl not being released means that all the people behind-the-scenes won’t get the proper credit on their resume for the work they accomplished.
Ultimately, whatever director DC goes in next, we hope that Batgirl isn’t forgotten for another reboot. Because do we really need another Batman reboot?