In a report published earlier today, THR revealed the news, telling us that The Avengers helmer has stepped down after having been attached for a year (he first signed on back in March of 2017). The official reason, according to Whedon at least, is that he “didn’t have a story,” but we suspect there’s more at play here.
For what it’s worth, though, here’s his official statement:
“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?'”
The Hollywood Reporter goes on to say that the director just couldn’t “crack the code of what a Batgirl movie should be,” and that a male filmmaker may have “faced greater public scrutiny if he were to have tackled a movie with such feminist importance such as Batgirl or Wonder Woman, much like a white filmmaker would have seen backlash taking on the Black Panther movie.”
While that’s probably true, you have to imagine that Whedon’s work on Justice League also contributed to this. It’s no secret that the tentpole was a colossal disappointment and from what we understand, the studio wasn’t terribly happy with the director’s work on the pic – nor were the fans.
For months now, we’d heard that WB was considering giving him the boot from Batgirl and now, it’s finally happened. The only question that remains is, who will take his place? Sources say the studio wants a female director to get behind the camera, but no names have been revealed at the time of writing.
Batgirl has yet to nail down an official release date, but with Aquaman due later this year and 2019 earmarked for Shazam!, Wonder Woman 2 and, presumably, Gavin O’Connor’s Suicide Squad sequel, we wouldn’t be surprised if this spinoff slips into 2020.