In yet another devastating blow to the DCEU and its ongoing attempt to find direction, Warner Bros. Discovery has reportedly pulled the plug on their race-swapped Batgirl film.
News of the film’s cancellation was first made public on August 2nd by The New York Post, who allegedly learned of the development from “a top Hollywood source”.
According to said source, test screenings of Batgirl were so widely panned by audiences that the studio chose to shelve the film and eat its entire reported budget of $70 Million – though the source claims it actually exceeds $100 Million – out of concern for the brand’s future.
“They think an unspeakable ‘Batgirl’ is going to be irredeemable,” the source told the Post.
Notably, this cancellation does not just pertain to the film’s theatrical release.
As per the Post’s source, the studio has also declined to give Batgirl an HBO Max release.
The Post’s initial announcement was later backed up by The Wrap, who subsequently reported that their own insider sources had likewise informed them that Batgirl would never take to the streets of Gotham.
“The leaders of the studio determined ultimately, in spite of reshoots and increased budget, that the movie simply did not work,” summarized The Wrap film reporter Umberto Gonzalez of his discussion with his alleged sources. “The new owners and management, led by CEO David Zaslav, are committed to making DC titles big theatrical event films, and ‘Batgirl’ isn’t that.”
As per Gonzalez, The Wrap’s sources further explained, “Warner Bros. Discovery is working to elevate DC Films to be seen on the big screen. ‘Batgirl’ had not been scripted or produced as a theatrical film.”
Should it have seen the light of day, Batgirl would have seen the aforementioned Grace take on the role of the eponymous heroine alongside Brendan Fraser as Firefly and J.K. Simsons in a reprisal of his Snyderverse role as Commissioner Gordon.
Michael Keaton was also confirmed to make an appearance in the film, with rumors suggesting it would be his first appearance as a mentor to a new generation of heroes – ala Batman Beyond – including Grace’s Batgirl, Sasha Calle’s Supergirl, and Xolo Mariduena’s Blue Beetle.
However, outside of casting, little else is known regarding Bad Boys for Life directorial duo Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah’s take on the Dominoed Daredoll.
Curiously, it seems that the film’s cancellation may have caught even the actors themselves unaware, as Fraser was promoting his Batgirl role as Firefly during an appearance made at the GalaxyCon Raleigh convention just four days prior to the announcement.
As noted above, Batgirl‘s cancellation is but the latest in a long line of setbacks for DC Films’ attempt at a cinematic universe – all of which do not bode well for the endeavor’s overall future.
Though the The Flash was intended as the key to launching a new, ostensibly more cohesive era for the DCEU, the ever-mounting controversies against star Ezra Miller have left the Scarlet Speedster’s solo debut release plans as a sort of Sword of Damacles hanging over WBD’s head – they can either release the film and attempt to recoup some of their investment at the cost of their reputation, as previous reports have indicated will be the case, or suffer another monetary loss and save face.
While executives undoubtedly hoped to bank off the popularity and box-office windfall of its predecessor, their hopes of a successful and smooth release for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom were dashed when Mera actress Amber Heard had her character laid out for the public to see during the recent trial regarding the defamation lawsuit brought against her by her ex-husband, Johnny Depp.
Following the widely televised revelation that Heard rather than Depp seemed to be the actual abuser in their relationship, the film’s profits and sequel potential were put into jeopardy when fans called for a boycott of the film, vowing to keep their money to themselves so long as the actress appeared on-screen in any capacity.
In WBD’s latest attempt to salvage interest in their DC projects – and a particularly desparate one at that, given DC Comics Publisher Jim Lee’s recent assertion that there were “no plans” for the Snyderverse – Aquaman actor Jason Momoa recently revealed that Ben Affleck would be returning to don his version of the cape and cowl for an appearance as Batman in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.