First off, let me just say that I love and respect Joss Whedon. He’s an amazing writer and director, having made some of the best TV shows ever, wrote amazing comics, and even wrote/directed one of the best superhero movies ever made (plus a less than stellar sequel). His approach to character and storytelling is nothing short of phenomenal. He’s not perfect, sure, but he’s one of the best and for good reason.
After having problems with Marvel regarding them interfering with Avengers 2, his vision for it, and the mixed reactions after it came out as well as the effect it’s had on his life, he left them. Then he decided to go to DC, which must’ve seemed like a major middle finger to Marvel/Disney, and make a Batgirl movie set in the DC Extended Universe, which he would write, direct, and produce. Not only that, but he took over post-production duties on Justice League after Zack Snyder left to be with his family following the death of his daughter. While the movie wasn’t a major game-changer, it was an okay movie, and it seemed to follow in the same course correction that the DCEU was taking after Wonder Woman became a huge success. Then it was announced that he was leaving Batgirl, and if I’m gonna be honest, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.
Let’s be fair, the DCEU hasn’t exactly had a good track record, but then again what movie series does, aside from a few? It started off okay with Man of Steel, then Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad were really divisive amongst fans and critics despite making a lot of money, got itself on the right track with Wonder Woman, and then Justice League came out and now everything seems to be in a state of flux, even though there are a couple of movies still slated to come out. So far, Aquaman, Shazam, and Wonder Woman 2 are all confirmed to be released, while others are either in limbo or haven’t been clear yet. Batgirl seems to be in the latter category, which sort of explains why Whedon left, at least in my opinion.
After DC/Warner has done at least 5 movies so far, they’ve announced a crap ton of movies in varying stages of development. Sequels to Suicide Squad and Man of Steel, as well as numerous films based on Lobo, Batman, Nightwing, Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Black Adam, Gotham City Sirens, and more. But Batgirl was also one of them. However, like those movies, there was no confirmed release date, no casting announcements, no premise or plot, and not even a production startup date. Just news regarding that Whedon was gonna do it, that it was gonna be about Barbara Gordon as Batgirl, and it was going to be inspired by Gail Simone’s New 52 run on the character. That’s it, nothing more. And now he left the project, saying that he “didn’t have a story” for it.
Look, stuff like this happens all the time. Various movies get various people attached to it at varying stages of development. Some turn out good, others not so much. You think Batgirl is the first movie this has happened to? The friggin Gambit movie by Fox has had, what, three or four directors attached and left? Sure, they got Channing Tatum to play the character and a pitch, but not much else, so who knows what’ll happen. Same thing goes for Batgirl, only it’s got nothing right now and probably had nothing to begin with, just an announcement of who’s doing it, and now they left. Heck, years back, Whedon was attached to do the Wonder Woman movie, and he left that because of “creative differences” and whatever else goes on in the film business. He even pitched a Batman movie that didn’t go through as well.
It just comes as no surprise that this stuff happens. Yeah, I was looking forward to Joss Whedon doing a Batgirl movie. It seemed to fit his wheelhouse. And I was a little bummed that he left. Now I’m okay with it. Life goes on. Who knows whether Batgirl will still happen or not, and if it does, I wish it the best. And whatever Joss Whedon plans next, I hope he does well with it (though PLEASE bring back Buffy, Angel, and Firefly, Mr. Whedon, if you’re reading this).
But if it does happen, and if you’re reading this, DC/Warner, I just want to make this little request: PLEASE don’t let it be like the hipster Batgirl introduced after Gail Simone left. Just, please don’t. Also don’t cast Lindsey Lohan as the character either. If you think Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor was bad, hoo boy are you in for a rude awakening. Hell, I think that’d be worse than Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl.