By Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images.
Nearly one year after officially joining the project, Joss Whedon has announced that he will no longer direct a Batgirl movie for Warner Bros. He released a statement to the Hollywood Reporter, sharing that he ultimately was unable to come up with a story fit to carry the film.
“Batgirl is such an exciting project, and Warners/D.C. such collaborative and supportive partners, that it took me months to realize I really didn’t have a story,” Whedon said. He then thanked D.C. president Geoff Johns and Warner Bros. Picture Group president Toby Emmerich. “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?’”
Whedon was originally slated to write, direct, and produce the film—an announcement that was met with much fanfare, considering his success with key Marvel movies The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron (not to mention seven seasons of steering the female superhero known as Buffy the Vampire Slayer). He was a welcome entry to the fold of Marvel’s chief rival; his light and quippy style seemed destined to lift the tone of D.C.E.U.’s somber oeuvre, established by a slew of critically panned films (although Whedon wasn’t quite able to salvage his first D.C. project, Justice League). Fans were also excited for another standalone movie revolving around a female superhero, something that could follow up D.C.’s only superheroine film this far, Wonder Woman.
However, the announcement also drew complaints from those who believed Whedon might not be the right person to helm Batgirl’s story. A purported script for his version of a Wonder Woman movie, written in the mid-aughts, leaked last June and was instantly slammed for its sexist portrayal of the Amazonian legend. The script looked especially in comparison to Patty Jenkins’s empowering version of Wonder Woman, which became a blockbuster hit upon its release last May.
Now the question is this: who, if anyone, will D.C. tap to replace Whedon? Much ink has already been spilled over the troubling lack of female directors in the D.C.E.U.; it’s an exclusive club thus far that only includes . . . Jenkins, who will also helm the Wonder Woman sequel. The studio is due for more behind the scenes inclusion; perhaps starting with the writer and director of Batgirl would launch the project on the right note.