Breaking news this evening has linked Avengers director Joss Whedon to a Batgirl solo movie!
According to Variety, Whedon (Avengers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly) is in talks and nearing a deal to direct, produce and write a Batgirl solo film for Warner Bros./DC. If Whedon signs on, then this would be a massive coup for Geoff Johns and the DC Extended Universe. Not only would it be a massive statement for DC to get the man who brought the Avengers to the big screen, but as we have said here & somewhere in here, he’s a perfect candidate to handle a member of the Bat-family – especially Batgirl! Here’s some reasons why!
Avengers Sized Universe, Solo Film Pressure
One of the key reasons why Whedon stepped away from the Marvel Cinematic Universe was that it exhausted him. Not only had he the Avengers under his wing, but he was essentially chief consultant on every other Phase 2 MCU movie that was in production. Bar Guardians of the Galaxy, the rest needed to keep in continuity with the plans of the MCU. This meant that Whedon needed to be on hand to guide or mould bits and pieces of script and screenplay. This would have been a massive weight on Whedon’s shoulders.
What Batgirl will give Whedon is an Avengers sized sandbox universe to play with but his mission will be to create just a small piece of the jigsaw rather than put all the pieces together and show off the grand ensemble. That will fall on Zack Snyder (or whoever takes on Justice League 2) and Matt Reeves (directing Batman). The Variety report suggests that the project would also feature other characters from Gotham/Batman Universe. So Whedon will essentially be operating in spin-off territory but may well have access to the entire box of toys that comes with the Batman playset! That’s an amazingly exciting prospect for Batman, DC and comic book fans in general!
A Master Of Female Lead Productions
If the Batgirl solo film does take flight, then this will make it DC’s third female lead project of their extended universe. Wonder Woman is set for release in June and a Harley Quinn solo-ish movie in the shape of David Ayer’s Gotham City Sirens. If you look at Joss Whedon’s back catalogue, it’s clear why Warner Bros would be tapping him up to take over what would be their most important female lead projects.
If you look at all the notches on Whedon’s creative bed post, you’ll see that almost every single one of his projects contained super strong female characters. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dollhouse, Firefly, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Alien: Resurrection (writing credit) – all of these productions have immensely strong female leads. You only have to look at Black Widow, Maria Hill & Scarlet Witch in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to see a more recent example of the great work he does with female characters. Each one is as strong, if not stronger in many ways than their male colleagues. Even when they have weaknesses or flaws (Black Widow’s Red in her Ledger, Scarlet Witch’s struggle during the battle of Sokovia in Age of Ultron) it does not disable them.
Batgirl, given her comic book history, is definitely one of the strongest female characters in the DC Universe and one who has gone through many struggles (and retcons) to where she is today. Whedon’s experience makes him more than experienced to give Batgirl a silver screen debut that more than does her justice.
A Real Team Leader
As mentioned previously, the Batgirl movie will reportedly also have other players from the world of Gotham City present. We know that there would obviously be a villain from Batman’s repetoire of rogues that would be a solid match for Barbara Gordon, but we’re more interested in what Whedon could do if he got his hands on some of the Bat-family!
Whedon’s projects in the past, along with having strong female characters, also had very strong team elements to them. Again, we must point to The Avengers – a film that many would have said had too many major characters to actually work. But Whedon ensured that everyone got the right amount of screen time (okay, except maybe Hawkeye in The Avengers) and nobody felt out-of-place, forced in or unnecessary. Everyone got their due and were very strong.
Batgirl has very close associations with many core DC characters. Batman, if he appears, we would expect would make no more than maybe a cameo appearance. However, characters like Nightwing (confirmed for a solo flick), a Robin in some guise, Catwoman, Black Canary, Katana and more could play a vital part in the Batgirl movie and potential sequels – possibly getting development where they may not have gotten the room in a core Batman movie. One could argue that Whedon could use a Batgirl movie(s) to launch a Birds of Prey movie somewhere down the line also!
Of course, as we saw with Matt Reeves & Batman, we’ll wait and see how this plays out. That turned into a bit of a saga and given that Whedon is merely in talks as reports suggest, we’ll await the official word from Warner Bros, DC or the man himself before getting too excited, but if Whedon is the man then Batgirl is in great hands.