DC Studios Co-CEO Defends Batgirl Movie's Cancellation

The future of the DC Universe has been speculated about a lot in recent years, as changes at Warner Bros. Discovery have thrown some things into flux. One of the most surprising decisions out of that was the cancellation of Batgirl, originally developed as an HBO Max-exclusive movie centered on Barbara Gordon. The film was already in post-production when it was shelved, and fans have definitely remained shocked by the decision to not release it at all. While speaking to press at the announcement of their "Chapter One: Gods & Monsters" slate, now-DC Studios CEO Peter Safran defended the cancellation decision, which was made before he and James Gunn took the job. He also teased that Batgirl will "inevitably" have a role in their plans for the franchise.

"Batgirl's a character that inevitably we will include in our story," Safran explained. "On the Batgirl front, it's not about late in the process of the film getting canceled. I saw the movie, and there are a lot of incredibly talented people in front of and behind the camera on that film. But that film was not releasable, and it happens sometimes. That film was not releasable. I actually think that [president and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery David] Zaslav and the team made a very bold and courageous decision to cancel it because it would have hurt DC. It would have hurt those people involved."

"I think that they really stood up to support DC," Safran continued. "The characters, the story, the quality of all of that. I spoke to Adil [El Arbi] and Bilall [Fallah] — the directors — last week, we were chatting. We'd love to be in business with all those folks. Christina Hodson wrote it. Some people are already back in business with us. As I said, a lot of talented people were involved, but the film just was not releasable. It would not have been able to compete in the theatrical marketplace; it was built for the small screen. So, again, I think it was not an easy decision, but they made the right decision by shelving it."

Why was Batgirl cancelled?

Batgirl was directed by Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbi, with a script written by Christina Hodson. The film would've starred Leslie Grace as Barbara Gordon / Batgirl, with JK Simmons reprising his role as Commissioner James Gordon, and Michael Keaton reprising his role as Bruce Wayne / Batman. Also joining the cast was Ivory Aquino as Alysia Yeoh, and Jacob Scipio, Rebecca Front, Corey Johnson, and Ethan Kai cast in currently-unknown roles.

"The decision to not release Batgirl reflects our leadership's strategic shift as it relates to the DC universe and HBO Max," a Warner Bros. spokesperson said in a statement when the cancellation was first confirmed. "Leslie Grace is an incredibly talented actor and this decision is not a reflection of her performance. We are incredibly grateful to the filmmakers of Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt and their respective casts and we hope to collaborate with everyone again in the near future."