The disappointing critical and commercial reaction to Justice League, along with some behind-the-scenes upheaval at the studio, effectively forced Warner Bros. to rethink their entire strategy behind the DC Extended Universe. The new direction of the franchise led both Aquaman and Shazam! to great success, and there are now a number of exciting projects on the studio’s upcoming slate.
Over the next several years, the DCEU will bring us the female-centric spinoff Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman 1984, James Gunn’s reboot/sequel The Suicide Squad and The Batman. In recent months, there’ve even been new updates on some of the DCEU’s properties that seemed destined to be stuck in development hell, with Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam finally gaining some real traction and The Flash hiring its fourth and hopefully final director in It filmmaker Andy Muschietti.
One of the movies that was originally intended to be a big part of the DCEU’s plans was Batgirl, which initially had Joss Whedon on board to both write and direct in March of 2017. However, development stalled when he was drafted in to finish Justice League after Zack Snyder stepped down for personal reasons, before Whedon ultimately left the project the following year after failing to crack the story.
Warner Bros. didn’t abandon Batgirl entirely, though, with Christina Hodson writing the script after reportedly impressing the studio with her work on Birds of Prey. And now, WGTC has heard from our sources – the same ones who revealed Viola Davis was returning for The Suicide Squad, and that The Matrix 4 will feature a young Morpheus, both of which were later confirmed – that the project is finally close to finding a new director, with Lady Bird and Little Women filmmaker Greta Gerwig said to be the studio’s top choice. It’s unclear if a formal offer has been made yet and as such, she may end up publicly denying this until things are official, but we’re told that she’s the one they want.
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The 36 year-old’s move into directing has brought some serious critical acclaim so far, as Lady Bird won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, as well as landing five Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, with Gerwig’s upcoming adaptation of Little Women already being positioned as a serious awards contender.
On paper, it sounds like an inspired choice, but even if Warner Bros. makes Gerwig an offer to direct Batgirl it remains to be seen if she would take it. Making the move from low-budget, acclaimed independent dramas where the filmmaker has total control to an effects-driven superhero blockbuster where studio executives have the final say is a big jump, and if recent developments are to be believed, Cathy Yan is experiencing some serious difficulties making the same transition on Birds of Prey.
In any case, we’re told that there are other names on WB’s list as well and this isn’t a sure thing just yet. But if Warner Bros. gets their way, we might just be seeing Gerwig join the DCEU.