Batgirl (partially found unreleased HBO MAX superhero film based on comic book character; 2021-2022)
Batgirl, aka Barbara Gordon, has become a prominent and central part of the Batman mythos ever since her debut in Detective Comics issue #359. As such, she was set to receive a feature film based around her comic storylines in the DC Extended Universe.
Entitled the same name as her persona, Batgirl, was directed by directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah with a staggering budget of $90 million. This film was set to be released and featured on HBO's original streaming service, HBO Max, in late 2022. This was not to be however as during the final stages of post-production, Warner Bros. Discovery reportedly decided to cancel and scrap the film's release and production, leaving the film in limbo and unreleased, despite it being mostly finished.
Background and Development
The development on a Batgirl solo film first began in March 2017 when filmmaker Joss Whedon signed on to write, direct, and produce the film but by February 2018, Whedon had departed the project after not being able to come up with a story for the project. Birds of Prey writer Christina Hodson was then brought on in April 2018 to write a new screenplay for the film and was anticipated to start constructing the film's screenplay after completing her commissions on a different ongoing DC film at that time, The Flash.
A few years later in May 2021, directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah were signed on to direct the film a month after a listing slate for the Batgirl project was anticipated and added to be anticipated as an HBO Max original.. In September 2021, Natalie Holt had announced that she would be composing the score for the film.
The film would be an origin story of Barbara Gordon (played by Leslie Grace), a vigilante in Gotham City and the daughter of police commissioner James Gordon (played by J. K. Simmons, reprising his role from Zack Snyder's Justice League.) Both would be portrayed as very close allies of Bruce Wayne.
- Leslie Grace as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl: The daughter of police commissioner Jim Gordon who becomes a vigilante after being barred from joining Gotham City's police force by her father.
- J. K. Simmons as Jim Gordon: The father of Barbara Gordon, Gotham City's police commissioner, and a close companion of Batman.
- Jacob Scipio as Anthony Bressi: The mob boss of one of Gotham City's many criminal mobs.
- Brendan Fraser as Ted Carson/Firefly: A supervillain that is a sociopathic pyromaniac. This version of Firefly would have an original backstory rather than adapting the one found in the comics.
- Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne / Batman: A wealthy socialite whose parents were gunned down right in front of him at a young age inspiring him to become the vigilante Batman.
- Keaton would be reprising the role of Batman from the two previous films set outside the DCEU, Batman and Batman Returns. Keaton taking over as the DCEU's Batman would have set up The Flash as the movie was planned to release before Batgirl prior to its delay.
- Ivory Aquino as Alysia Yeoh: A bartender, best friend of Barbara Gordon, and a trans women.
Additional actors such as Rebecca Front, Corey Johnson, and Ethan Kai were also casted for the film in undisclosed and unknown roles. Kai was noted to have a leading role which was later revealed to be Barbara Gordon's love interest. The Batman villain, Killer Moth, was also set to appear but it is unknown who would have played him..
Cancellation and Further Attempts to Retain
After the fusion of its service with Discovery's, the now Warner Brothers Discovery (WBD) announced that they had cancelled the release of the film on HBO Max or theatrically, despite its planned release in 2022 on HBO Max, making the film "effectively dead". The cast and crew first heard about the film's cancellation when the New York Post exclusively published the story on August 2nd, 2022.
According to TheWrap the company just felt the film "simply did not work" and went against the new desire and mandate from CEO David Zaslav to make DC films "big theatrical event films". Watchers of the initial test screenings described the film as "a huge disappointment and looked cheap in comparison to other films", which could have been a factor in the studio's decision to cancel the film. Directors El Arbi and Fallah tried to rescue some footage by logging into the Warner Bros. servers and capturing some of the footage on their cellphones, but they were frustrated.
While footage of the film, either behind-the-scenes or official, are available after being posted by casts and crews or unofficial sources, the film has yet to be seen a release.
- An 11-minute behind-the-scenes footage from the film. Retrieved 02 Jan '23
- Leslie Grace's Tiktok post which contains footage from the film. Retrieved 02 Jan '23
- Batman Fights Dracula (lost unofficial Filipino comedy parody film; 1967)
- Batman Dracula (partially found Andy Warhol film; 1964)
- Gotham High (lost cancelled Batman animated series; 2009)
- Batman Forever (partially lost deleted scenes of DC superhero film sequel; 1995)
- The Dark Knight (lost build of cancelled multi-platform action game based on Batman film; 2008)
- Batman And The New Robin (partially found unproduced animated TV series; 1988)
- Batman: The Animated Series - Tim Curry performance as the Joker (lost audio recordings from animated series; 1992)
- Mike Henry's Batman publicity stills (lost photographs advertising CBS "Batman" TV series; 1964)
- Batman: A Death in the Family - "Jason Todd lives" (partially lost alternate version of comic; 1988)
- Batman: Clean and Dirty (found "Sesame Street" animated segment; 1970)
- Batman Meets Godzilla (lost Japanese film treatment of unproduced crossover film; 1960s)*Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight Trilogy" (lost deleted scenes of DC superhero film trilogy; 2005-2012)
- The People's Joker (partially found unauthorized trans joker movie; 2022)
- ‘Batgirl’ Movie: Joss Whedon to Direct Standalone Film (EXCLUSIVE) by Dave McNary from Variety. Retrieved 10 Feb '23.
- Joss Whedon Exits ‘Batgirl’ Movie (Exclusive) by Borys Kit from The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 10 Feb '23.
- ‘Batgirl’ Movie Back On, Now With ‘Bumblebee’ Writer (Exclusive) by Borys Kit from The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 10 Feb '23.
- DC Films Plots Future With Superman, Green Lantern and R-Rated Movies (EXCLUSIVE) by Brent Lang and Justin Kroll from Variety. Retrieved 10 Feb '23.
- ‘Bad Boys for Life’ Filmmakers to Direct ‘Batgirl’ Movie for Warner Bros. (Exclusive) by Borys Kit from The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 10 Feb '23.
- ‘Loki’ Composer Natalie Holt Will Score ‘Batgirl’ Film for HBO Max by Marco Vito Oddo from Collider. Retrieved 10 Feb '23.
- Batgirl Set Photo Reveals HBO Max Film Has Begun Shooting by Tyler Treese from ComingSoon.net. Retrieved 10 Feb '23.
- Batgirl Star Leslie Grace Announces Filming Has Wrapped by Jenna Anderson from Comicbook.com. Retrieved 10 Feb '23.
- Batgirl Star Leslie Grace Teases New Story Details For Upcoming DC Movie. Retrieved 04 Aug '23
- Batgirl Movie Will Show Different Sides Of Commissioner Gordon, Says Star. Retrieved 04 Aug '23
- Michael Keaton Joining ‘Batgirl’. Retrieved 04 Aug '23
- Brendan Fraser to Play Villain in ‘Batgirl’ Movie. Retrieved 04 Aug '23
- Batgirl: Brendan Fraser's Firefly Reportedly a New Take on the Classic Character by Samuel Gelman from CBR.com. Retrieved 10 Feb '23.
- The Flash & Michael Keaton's Batman Return Delayed To 2023 by Cooper Hood for ScreenRant. Retrieved 10 Feb '23.
- HBO Max’s ‘Batgirl’ Movie Adds Rebecca Front, Corey Johnson, and Ethan Kai (Exclusive) by Borys Kit from The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 10 Feb '23.
- New DC Villain For Cancelled Batgirl Movie Revealed In BTS Images by Brandon Louis from ScreenRant. Retrieved 10 Feb '23
- ‘Batgirl’ Film Axed by Warner Bros., Won’t Be Released on Any Platform. Retrieved 04 Aug '23
- ‘Batgirl’ and ‘Scoob!: Holiday Haunt’ Scrapped at Warner Bros. Amid Cost-Savings Push. Retrieved 04 Aug '23
- ‘Irredeemable’ ‘Batgirl’ movie gets ‘shelved’ by Warner Bros. despite $70M price tag: source Retrieved 22 Sep '23
- DC Films’ Walter Hamada Was on the Brink of Exit After ‘Batgirl’ Cancellation by Kim Masters from The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 10 Feb '23.
- ‘Batgirl’ Won’t Fly: Warner Bros. Discovery Has No Plans to Release Nearly Finished $90 Million Film. Retrieved 04 Aug '23
- Batgirl Reportedly Won't Be Released, Despite $90 Million Production. Retrieved 04 Aug '23
- Batgirl Director Tried to Salvage Cancelled Movie With His Smartphone. Retrieved 04 Aug '23