Warner Bros. Scraps the ‘Batgirl’ movie starring Leslie Grace

It’s almost as if Leslie Grace was destined to end up in Gotham.

That In the Heights star and Latin pop singer didn’t grow up reading DC comics or watching superhero shows, but she and her childhood best friend nicknamed themselves after the caped crusader and his sidekick. “We always got into trouble as kids, so we started calling each other Batman and Robin,” she previously told ELLE.com. So when she found out she was cast as Batgirl (Mid a close race for the coveted role), her BFF knew it felt like fate. “[She] was like, ‘All this time, we’ve been manifesting this,'” Grace said.

A standalone Batgirl movie has been in the works with Warner Bros. and DC since 2017, and Grace’s casting was announced in 2021. However, a year later, the film has been scrapped just months from release. Here’s what we know.

Why did Batgirl be scrapped?

Batgirl was expected to arrive sometime in 2022 on HBO Max, but on Aug. 2, reports broke, initially from New York Post, that Warner Bros. would not release the film at all, either theatrically or online.

About The Hollywood Reporter,” The unusual move comes after a leadership shakeup at Warners, with newly installed Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav prioritizing cost-cutting measures and refocusing Warners on theatrical films rather than creating direct-to-streaming projects, which had been a priority for former WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar.”

The film — with a reported budget of $80 million and actual costs of nearly $90 million due to COVID protocols — had already finished shooting, THR reports. Sources told the outlet that expensive, streaming-only projects don’t align with the company’s new strategy.

The packaging previously reported that studio executives decided, according to insiders Batgirl simply didn’t work, even with reshoots and an increased budget. The new management is “committed to turning DC titles into big theatrical event movies, and ‘Batgirl’ is not that,” per The packaging. However, the studio reportedly loves Grace and the film’s directors and wants to work with them in the future.

And accordingly Variety,” Studio insiders insist that the decision was not driven by the quality of the film or the commitment of the filmmakers, but by the desire for the studio’s slate of DC features to be on a blockbuster scale. ‘Batgirl’ was budgeted to be shown in homes on HBO Max and not for a major global theatrical release.” (For reference, the Robert Pattinson-starrer Batmanwhich was primarily released in cinemas, cost 185 million dollars.)

Still, as the outlet points out, it’s surprising to see the studio decline Batgirl rather than trying to offset some of the costs with a smaller release.

What is Batgirl about?

The film was supposed to follow Barbara Gordon, daughter of Gotham Police Commissioner (and famous Batman ally) James Gordon, who takes the alias Batgirl. Grace also teased a bit of Barbara’s story for ELLE.com:

“I can’t say much about what she’s going to do, but Batgirl is going to be her own hero. [Her origin story] is wildly dark, like many other superheroes, but I like her becoming Batgirl because she wants to make a difference in the world. She feels like people underestimate her as Barbara Gordon, and I relate to that.”

The actress also hinted at some of the stunt work she would be doing in the role when speaking to Variety: “There’s crazy fire. There’s crazy stunts, crazy drops. She’s a biker chick, so you’re going to see her do a lot of badassery.”

This marks the third on-screen iteration of the caped superheroine, per The Hollywood Reporter. She made her television debut in 1961 as Betty Kane (played by Yvonne Craig) and then reappeared in 1997 Batman and Robin film (with Alicia Silverstone as Barbara Wilson).

Who is in the cast?

Michael Keaton was to make his big return as Batman. JK Simmons, who played Commissioner James Gordon in the Justice Leaguewas also to reprise his role.

Mother star Brendan Fraser had joined as the pyromaniac supervillain Firefly, Deadline reported in October. And Jacob Scipio, breakout star in Bad Boys for Lifewas also on board as a gangster Anthony “Tony” Bressi.

Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (Bad Boys For Life) was instructionChristina Hodson (Birds of prey) wrote the script, and Kristin Burr (Cruella) produced. Joss Whedon had originally signed on to write and direct the film before dropping out in 2018.

Leslie Grace has shared a sneak peek at her Batgirl costume.

On January 14, Grace shared a photo of herself in the Batgirl costume, standing against the backdrop of a Gotham building. The suit has a blue molding, a gold belt, what looks like a weapon strapped to her thigh, and a short cape lined with yellow. Grace’s hair flows freely in the wind behind her.

She captioned the photo: “‘I use their expectations against them. It will be their weakness. Not mine. Let them all underestimate me…And when their guard is down and their pride is up, let me kick their ass .’ – Batgirl, Year One.”

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This story has been updated.

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