“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?'”
While developing the Batgirl movie, Whedon also stepped in to direct Justice League after Zack Snyder left the film during post-production following the death of his daughter. The film ultimately grossed “just” $657.6 million worldwide, barely over double its $300 million budget, and a few months after its release, Walter Hamada was named the new President of DC Films, while Emmerich was moved up to replace Kevin Tsujihara as Warner Bros.’s chairman.
THR also states “industry sources” reported internal concerns 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.” A decade ago, Whedon was actually attached to write and direct Wonder Woman, and the draft leaked last year was criticized for “constantly sexualizing and demeaning its lead character, it’s like an evil mirror universe version of the movie we eventually got.”
Currently, DC Films’s upcoming film slate includes Aquaman (December 21, 2018), Shazam! (April 5, 2019), and Wonder Woman 2 (November 1, 2019). Batgirl was one of a myriad of Batman film spin-offs being planned, with the Caped Crusader himself set to star in another film from director Matt Reeves.