As the fate of the DC Films franchise hangs in the balance, this latest headline will come across as yet another big setback blow: Joss Whedon has dropped out of the Batgirl movie!
The Avengers / Justice League director isn't citing the usual "creative differences" excuse: in a statement to THR, he claims the creative failure was actually his own:
"Batgirl is such an exciting project, and Warners/DC such collaborative and supportive partners, that it took me months to realize I really didn’t have a story. I’m grateful to Geoff and Toby and everyone who was so welcoming when I arrived, and so understanding when I… uh, is there a sexier word for ‘failed."
No report on what Warner Bros. and DC Films plans to do from here, or whether Batgirl will remain on the slate of actively in development movies.
It was recently reported that the next wave of DC Films would in fact include Batgirl, along with Flashpoint, the Flash event film. It was THR that dropped that report, so it's even more surprising is now back to refute that claim with this reveal from Whedon.
All in all, this is just more evidence that Marvel Studios has gained an irreversible lead over Warner Bros. and its DC Films brand. Black Panther is about to kill Justice League entire worldwide box office in just its first week of release; that's an entirely different universe of blockbuster success. With Batgirl gone, the DC Films slate now includes the following:
- Aquaman (Trailer coming soon)
- Shazam! (arriving 2019)
- Wonder Woman 2 (arriving 2019)
- Suicide Squad 2 (expected to start shooting this fall)
- Joker Standalone Origin Story (expected to shoot this summer)
- The Batman (in pre-production)
- Flashpoint (in pre-production)
As for Batgirl: if Joss Whedon was defeated in cracking the code of how to turn the character into a major movie franchise, that's a pretty damning statement. Whedon has been one of the most adept at creating properties centered around strong female heroes, and had major creative control of Batgirl, as the film's writer, producer and director. Of course in a modern era where filmmakers of a much wider range of diversity are scoring major box office successes (Patty Jenkins, Ryan Coogler) maybe there is someone of a different background who has the key to cracking this troublesome code...
The theatrical cut of Justice League will be available on Digital HD on February 13th and Blu-ray on March 13th - complete with deleted scenes. The film will be followed in the DC Extended Universe by Aquaman on December 21st, Shazam on April 5, 2019, Wonder Woman 2 on November 1, 2019, Cyborg in 2020, and Green Lantern Corps in 2020.