Could Batgirl Be Delayed After The Flash's Newest Release Date Shift?

The live-action DC multiverse seems to always be in a state of flux, with film and television projects getting released on a pretty regular basis. On Wednesday, the immediate future of those new installments was shaken up, when Warner Bros. announced that Black Adam, The Flash, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, and Shazam! Fury of the Gods would all be changing release dates. For The Flash, that meant being delayed from November 4th to June 23, 2023, the latest in a string of shifts for the long-awaited project. The film's ambitious storyline and returning characters have already sparked a lot of speculation, especially about what it could potentially mean for the upcoming Batgirl HBO Max movie, which was previously believed to be debuting in December of 2022.

One of the biggest revelations about The Flash thus far has been that Michael Keaton will be reprising his role as Bruce Wayne / Batman in the upcoming film, a role he originally portrayed in 1989's Batman and 1992's Batman Returns. It's been previously-established that the existing canon of Keaton's films exists in a separate universe from the main movie universe, but that he will be brought into the fold via The Flash's multiversal shenanigans. After that, Keaton is reportedly poised to recur in a Nick Fury-esque supporting role in the larger DC universe — beginning with Batgirl, which he has been confirmed to make an appearance in. 

On the surface, you would think Batgirl's storyline would be able to exist without The Flash happening beforehand, and could eventually be folded into the larger continuity. The only problem is that Batgirl also clearly borrows from the existing continuity of the main DC Films universe, as Justice League alum J.K. Simmons will be returning as Jim Gordon, as opposed to Pat Hingle's take on the character from Keaton's previously films. This would mean that, without The Flash arriving beforehand, elements of Keaton's return of Batgirl would create a narrative can of worms. Rumors have also swirled around the idea of Leslie Grace's Barbara Gordon / Batgirl eventually being a part of the upcoming Justice League roster, alongside Sasha Calle's Supergirl, who is poised to be folded into the main universe with The Flash.

So, with The Flash now being released a full seven months after its previous release date, it certainly doesn't seem out of the question that Batgirl might not be released on HBO Max until after its debut, potentially in the latter half of 2023. Sure, this would be quite some time after fans had initially believed Batgirl to be released, but the December 2022 release date was never fully set in stone or confirmed by HBO Max, and it would allow the project to narratively ride the high of the new canon set up by The Flash in June of 2023. Plus, it doesn't seem impossible that it could strengthen the film's chances of getting a theatrical release, as Warner Bros. does not currently have any DC films scheduled for late 2023 past August's Blue Beetle (which, by the way, was initially set as a Max Original before moving to theaters). While we'll ultimately have to wait and see when Batgirl ends up making its debut, the most recent schedule changes within the DC multiverse might add a bit more of question mark to that.

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