CBMB: Joss Whedon Changes Sides to Direct Batgirl Solo Film
By Muuka Muyumba
After a few years away from the Marvel machine, Joss Whedon is reportedly in line to produce, write, and direct a Batgirl solo film for the DC Entertainment’s DC Extended Universe (DCEU). Whedon has long been a fanboy and girl legend having flexed his muscle on genre TV like Buffy and Firefly, in writing comics for both DC and Marvel, and of course, breaking records with Marvel’s The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Whedon has also long been an advocate for films with strong female protagonists. He openly lobbied for Marvel to start a franchise of Black Widow solo films. Marvel has yet to tap Scarlett Johannson as a solo resource, nor have they focused an MCU film solely on a female hero. Their first foray into this arena will be with Oscar-winner Brie Larson heading up Captain Marvel next year. A Batgirl project would be the second movie from DC Films to star a female lead after Gal Gadot’s “Wonder Woman,” which opens June 2nd.
Let’s be clear: Whedon has directed two of the highest grossing films of all time, no matter how you feel about the strength of the the story of either film. Whedon was the one director to set a template for Phases 1 and 2 within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which carried a lot of responsibility as he shepherded many of the scripts like Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: The Dark World. This responsibility also apparently led to him being burnt out on the MCU according to his own reports of fatigue throughout Ultron’s production.
The prospect of Whedon joining the DCEU may carry with it some similar expectations. The DCEU has been actively attempting to right its ship since last year with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad both breaking out with respectable financial hauls, but withering critical response. DC and Warner Brothers has announced plans to have Green Lantern Corps, Aquaman, Gotham City Sirens, and even Justice League: Dark Universe possibly all up and running in some phase of production before the end of this year. However, the bottomline of the DCEU, so far, is that their films have been divisive. Throw in Man of Steel and you have a trifecta of films that have some ardent lovers and ardent detractors. The DCEU has also been savaged by the new film-critique standard, Rotten Tomatoes, which hasn’t had any of the DC films anywhere near the Marvel average of 75% favorable reviews.
Whedon bring a load of credibility to the project that could extend beyond his film and infect the DCEU. The hope, heart, and humor that has been lacking from the DCEU could be infused into it by Whedon’s influence. However, there is no telling whether Whedon would want to accept this burden.
Batgirl first appeared in DC Comics in 1967 as Barbara Gordon, the daughter of Gotham City police commissioner James Gordon in “The Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl!” by writer Gardner Fox and artist Carmine Infantino.
No word on when we could expect the project to hit theaters.