Though Warner Bros. and DC Films be aiming to course-correct their cinematic universe with Batgirl, the fears that J.K. Simmons would be replaced as Barbara’s dad, Commissioner Jim Gordon, could prove to be for naught.
A report by The Hollywood Reporter indicates the Whiplash and Justice League actor is in talks to return to the DCEU for its next phase, which is set to continue on HBO Max starting with a new crop of solo films starring various Bat-Family characters.
“J. K. Simmons is coming back to the Bat-beat,” says THR. “The Oscar-winning actor is in negotiations to reprise the role of classic Batman character Commissioner James Gordon in Batgirl, Warner Bros.’ feature for HBO Max that is casting up swiftly.”
And swiftly casting it is, as it was recently announced that In The Heights star Leslie Grace has landed the lead role of Barbara Gordon/Batgirl after a search that, according to reports, came down to her, Zombieland: Double Tap star Zoey Deutch, Dora the Explorer actress Isabella Merced, and Five Feet Apart’s Haley Lu Richardson (though there was some question concernings Richardson’s actual place in the casting’s standings).
Grace doesn’t have Barbara’s signature red hair, a fact which has been met with some resistance and skepticism from a few fans, but if Simmons comes back as the Commissioner, it will go a long way to ameliorate the fandom’s perception of the production.
His portrayal of Gordon in both the studio’s version of Justice League and Zack Snyder’s won the approval of most audiences – even if he didn’t have a whole lot of screen time in the ensemble film.
Initially, the word on the street suggested that WB was going to go in a different direction for Barbara’s solo debut and recast the Commish yet again, with somebody in the role other than either Simmons or The Batman’s Jeffrey Wright, which led most to believe that Batgirl would take place in a continuity separate from the DCEU and the world of Matt Reeves’ The Batman.
Now it seems as though Batgirl will have a place in the DCEU as we’ve come to know it, though there’s still a chance the project could undergo a ‘soft reboot’ in a similar vein to Birds of Prey and The Suicide Squad.
Batgirl is estimated to arrive on HBO Max at some point in 2022.
How does this news hit you? Will Simmons’ appearance make Batgirl better? Give us your thoughts below.