Once more the future of Warner Bros.’ DCEU is up in the air, a cinematic universe with the dubious honor of its backstage politics being far more entertaining that the mostly crappy films they put out. The latest bombshell is that the much-publicized Joss Whedon written and directed-Batgirl movie isn’t going to happen.
If you recall, Whedon’s statement on the DOA production was a bit hard to buy into, with the filmmaker saying:
“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 [Johns] and Toby [Emmerich] and everyone who was so welcoming when I arrived, and so understanding when I…uh, is there a sexier word for ‘failed’?”
So, let me get this straight. ‘Master storyteller’ Joss Whedon couldn’t crack the complex idea of a supercool female Batman whose father’s also J.K. Simmons, which may as well be titled A Story That Kinda Writes Itself: The Movie? If you honestly believe this lame excuse, I have a bridge to sell you.
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What’s really going on, then? Well, Mario-Francisco Robles over at Revenge of the Fans has some theories. He posits that “the whole Whedon/Batgirl thing was really just a smoke screen to cover up all of the work he was doing on Justice League. What seems to have happened there is that the priority was his secretive work on JL, with Batgirl being more of a loose idea of something they could get to down the line if the stars aligned. Now that Justice League is out though, and the stars didn’t quite align, that’s the end of that.”
In addition, right now Joss Whedon isn’t the golden boy he was when The Avengers cracked the billion-dollar mark for Marvel Studios. He’s been widely (and possibly unfairly) blamed by fans for ruining DC’s aforementioned tentpole, with his lame one-liners and ugly cinematography, not to mention the fallout from his ex-wife publishing the details of his multiple affairs and the emotional abuse she suffered as a result.
Who knows? If Justice League had been a hit then perhaps he’d have been redeemed. But with it disappointing under pretty much every imaginable metric, it’s no surprise that he’s being given the old heave-ho.
Apparently, new Warner Bros. boss Walter Hamada is eager to wipe the DCEU clean, which means cutting that backstage controversy off at the source and streamlining the studio’s output. Batgirl, carrying with it the stench of past failures, looks to have been the first casualty.
What’s next, though? Well, Robles doesn’t seem to think Chris McKay’s Nightwing is going anywhere and surely they’ll cancel at least one or more of the many Joker and Harley films apparently being developed, but beyond that, we’ll just have to wait and see how the DCEU proceeds from here.