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We’re Never Going to Get to See Batgirl


We’re Never Going to Get to See Batgirl

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We’re Never Going to Get to See Batgirl


Published on August 3, 2022

Screenshot: Warner Bros.
Leslie Grace in In the Heights
Screenshot: Warner Bros.

Yesterday, Warner Bros. Discovery killed Batgirl. And this isn’t some kind of metaphor: The Batgirl movie, which had finished shooting and was slated for release on HBO Max, has been pulled. As Variety noted when announcing the news, Batgirl “was greenlit in 2021 as part of a company-wide effort at Warner Bros. to create feature films specifically for HBO Max. But the new corporate regime at Warner Bros. Discovery has pivoted the company’s priorities back to theatrical features, leaving Batgirl without a proper home.”

Yes: They’ve pivoted back to theaters, and despite the fact that they spent $90 million on a movie designed to be released on HBO Max, won’t be releasing it on HBO Max. If this sounds absurd to you, wait! It gets worse! In a followup piece, Variety offers an explanation: “According to sources with knowledge of the situation, the most likely reason: taxes.”

Batgirl sounded charming. The movie stars In the Heights‘ Leslie Grace (above) as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl; J.K. Simmons as her father, Commissioner Gordon; Brendan Fraser as the villain Firefly; and it would have been the first DC Comics movie to feature a trans character in Ivory Aquino’s Alysia Yeoh. Michael Keaton was going to show up as Batman, for good measure. The directors, Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, are coming off the super-successful Ms. Marvel, for which they directed the season premiere and season finale.

Variety explains the regime change that likely led to the decision to shelve Batgirl, and the short version is: The executives who opted to release all of Warner Bros.’ 2021 movies on HBO Max are gone, and the new guy has reversed course. According to The Wrap, “The leaders of the studio determined ultimately, in spite of reshoots and increased budget, that the movie simply did not work, according to insiders. The new owners and management, led by CEO David Zaslav, are committed to making DC titles big theatrical event films, and Batgirl isn’t that.”


Warner also axed Scoob!: Holiday Haunt, the sequel to Scoob! Variety explains, “Several sources say it will almost certainly take a tax write-down on both films, seen internally as the most financially sound way to recoup the costs (at least, on an accountant’s ledger). It could justify that by chalking it up to a post-merger change of strategy.”

If you ever needed a reminder that this is all commerce before art, there you have it.

There are other concerns about the future of HBO Max, given that it’s expected to merge with the very different Discovery+. What that will mean for other DC series, from the Penguin spinoff to another crack at Green Lantern—not to mention the streamer’s many original shows, including our beloved Our Flag Means Death—remains to be seen.

About the Author

Molly Templeton


Molly Templeton has been a bookseller, an alt-weekly editor, and assistant managing editor of, among other things. She now lives and writes in Oregon, and spends as much time as possible in the woods.
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