Why was Batgirl canceled? WB’s Controversial Decision Explained

Why was Batgirl canceled? WB’s Controversial Decision Explained

The entire DC fandom was cheering when the Batgirl project was announced with Leslie Grace, J.K. Simmons, Brendan Fraser, and Michael Keaton starring. One simply does not expect such a big project to get canceled out of the blue, especially not if production has already started.

So, it was a real shocker when Warner Bros Discovery announced that Batgirl would never see the light of day.

What exactly led to this controversial decision?

Warner Bros Discovery stated that Batgirl had to be axed because it would not prove to be a profitable venture, especially with the new direction that the DC universe and HBO Max are hoping to go in.

The company goes on to clarify that this had nothing to do with the production team or Grace herself and should not reflect their abilities and talents negatively. They also hoped to collaborate with the team in the future.

Why was Batgirl canceled? WB’s Controversial Decision Explained
Leslie Grace | Source: IMDb

To dwell more on how this was more of a financial decision, the company stated that the project was too small for a theatrical release and not economic enough to hold its own on streaming platforms.

In short, they did not want to spend any more money on completing the film and marketing it for either theatres or HBO Max.

As pointed by industry expects, the company also has a great way to recover the money already spent on the project: tax write-downs. But in doing so, the company can never release the movie or even sell it to another company. So, this version of Batgirl is certainly gone.

The company also stated that the film was not well received by its test audience. However, this seems like an excuse trying to ward off criticism of how this was just a stone-hearted financial move. Especially because there were contrasting reports that the test reactions were actually not bad.

Why was Batgirl canceled? WB’s Controversial Decision Explained
Michael Keaton as Batman | Source: IMDb

On the creative front, fans are also left hanging about whether Batgirl will ever be introduced into the DC properties and more importantly, how this will affect Michael Keaton’s much-anticipated comeback as Batman.

Perhaps the worst takeaway is how the Batgirl team itself was blindsided. When the news broke out, co-directors Adil El Arbi and Billal Fallah (known for their recent work in Ms Marvel) were attending the former’s wedding in Morocco. Both had expected to return to the studios in a few days to continue work on the film.

The team, of course, handled their responses to this decision with grace, thanking fans and everyone involved for their enthusiasm and support. But such decisions really make you wonder what the future of DC at Warner Bros Discovery holds.

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About Batgirl

Batgirl was an upcoming superhero film in the DC Extended Universe. It was supposed to have an exclusive debut on HBO Max sometime in 2022-23 and was slated to be directed by Adil Al Arbi and Bilall Fallah (previously worked on Ms Marvel) with a screenplay by Christina Hodson (screenwriter for Birds of Prey). Kristin Burr was listed as the producer. 

In July 2021, it was confirmed that Leslie Grace will be playing Batgirl/Barbara Gordon. However, due to unavoidable circumstances, Warner Bros. announced in 2022 that the upcoming film has been cancelled.