What does batgirl‘s cancellation mean for other movies in DC’s pipeline? Here’s what we know so far. Very little takes the movie industry by surprise, but batgirl‘s cancellation was met with open mouths from Hollywood insiders and the wider world alike. The DC movie starring Leslie Grace as Barbara Gordon had entered post-production and was all but completed, costing a reported $90 million ahead of a HBO Max premiere. Despite the time and money spent, Warner Bros. Discovery decided to cancel batgirl alongside the also almost finished Scoob! 2: Holiday Haunt.
Warner Bros.’ motivations for binning batgirl are predictably tangled. Official sources blame a strategic shift whereby DC movies will once again become theatrical exclusives (couldn’t that policy come into effect after releasing stuff that’s already finished?) but other reports have cited concerns about quality. In a subsequent quarterly earnings call, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav stated, “We’re not going to put a movie out unless we believe in it,” intimating that batgirl wasn’t deemed strong enough to let fly.
So, what happens to DC’s other in-development projects now? All the big hitters are safe. Black Adam, Aquaman & The Lost Kingdom, Shazam: Fury of the Gods, Wonder Woman 3, The Batman 2 and Joker: Folie à Deux should all breathe easy, with many of the above receiving an explicit vote of confidence from Zaslav himself. Where does that leave DC’s remaining in-development movies?
A spin-off from Birds of Prey, Black Canary stars Jurnee Smollett as Dinah Lance, the titular singing vigilante, with Misha Green hired to write the script. As recently as June 2022, Smollett was discussing her excitement for Black Canary while hyping how the solo venture would explore Dinah’s backstory and martial arts prowess. Although Black Canary‘s status remains officially unchanged at the time of writing, there are certainly questions to be answered. Always intended for HBO Max, Black Canary no longer fits Warner Bros. Discovery’s model of theatrical-only DC movies, and after Birds of Prey flopped at the box office (despite critical acclaim), sending Dinah to theaters would constitute a considerable financial risk.
In a potentially portentous omen, Jurnee Smollett’s Dinah Lance was heavily rumored for batgirl, with the Gotham heroines crossing over to create an almost mini-DCEU on HBO Max. since Black Canary hasn’t even started filming yet, Warner Bros. also wouldn’t be taking as big a loss by canceling the project compared to batgirl.
clipping Black Canary from DC’s upcoming movie slate would represent a tremendous shame, wasting a character that Birds of Prey proved was brimming with long-term potential. Canceling two superhero movies starring women of color would also inevitably raise serious questions about the DCEU’s commitment to diversity.
DC has been eyeing a Blue Beetle movie for almost a decade, but talk finally led to action in early 2021 when Angel Manuel Soto was confirmed as the project’s director. Cobra Kai star Xolo Maridueña was announced as playing Jaime Reyes shortly after, giving Blue Beetle its leading man, while Susan Sarandon, Bruna Marquezine, and George Lopez joined in supporting berths. Blue Beetle officially wrapped filming in July 2022 ahead of its August 2023 release date, but batgirl‘s cancellation has understandably triggered nervousness, with Blue Beetle occupying that same mid-budget pigeonhole, and completion of filming apparently no longer a guarantee that a DC movie will see the light of day.
Thankfully, Blue Beetle‘s release plan gives reason for optimism. Although initially pegged as another HBO Max exclusive, Blue Beetle was later shifted onto DC’s theatrical schedule. In his quarterly earnings call, David Zaslav did also suggest (albeit without mentioning any project by name) that Warner Bros. Discovery would accommodate mid-budget DC releases so long as they were of high quality and released in theaters. Hopefully this proves enough to spare Blue Beetle the ax, although the distinct lack of Jaime Reyes at SDCC 2022 is still playing on our minds…
since batgirl‘s cancellation, David Zaslav and Barbara Muschietti (producer) have both separately provided assurances over the future of DC’s The Flash movie, currently scheduled for 2023. And that’s why we’re worried. Long before Barbara Gordon got the boot, The Flash was facing calls to address an increasing string of disturbing controversies following the movie’s star, Ezra Miller. It goes without saying that The Flash is bigger than any single individual, and canceling an entire movie due to the actions of one person would waste the hard work and talent of other cast and crew members. Many have suggested recasting Miller, but as the lead actor, this would be an incredibly costly (albeit not unprecedented) endeavor.
scrapping batgirl – a $90 million near-finished movie – makes keeping Ezra Miller as the DCEU’s Barry Allen harder to justify. More broadly, canceling batgirl while refusing to address the speedster in the room could prove damaging to The Flash, since talk of a boycott was already circulating on social media. Warner Bros. Discovery’s handling of batgirl has intensified pressure to deal with Ezra Miller, and refusing to budget at this point can only have a detrimental impact on The Flash‘s fortune.
Sasha Calle landed the DCEU’s Supergirl gig in early 2021, her debut penciled-in for The Flash ahead of an anticipated solo movie that had been in the works years before Calle’s casting. Precious few supergirl updates have emerged since 2018 (aside from Oren Uziel penning the script), but the growing excitement surrounding Kara Zor-El’s DCEU debut was expected to supercharge the supergirl solo project. Whether Sasha Calle’s DC future would’ve played out on the big screen or HBO Max isn’t known, but a Rolling Stone report claims supergirl is next in the firing line after batgirl. An official announcement hasn’t yet been made and, in any case, supergirl was only in the earliest stages of pre-production. Nevertheless, Kara Zor-El following Barbara Gordon (and Dinah Lance?) out of the DCEU’s exit door would represent a huge blow for female superheroes, and a backwards step for superhero movie diversity.
One of the most recent additions to DC’s movie slate, Static Shock was first announced during 2020’s online FanDome convention, with Michael B. Jordan producing and Randy McKinnon writing the script. Jordan provided a small update in April 2021 by revealing the writing process was ongoing, but news has been scarce ever since. Back in December 2020, DC Films President Walter Hamada touted Static Shock as more likely to release on HBO Max, which immediately puts the project in danger of falling victim to Zaslav’s new theatrical-only regime. while batgirl was completed as a streaming original, Static Shock could yet be rejigged for theaters, but the question of whether Warner Bros. would risk the bigger budget on a little-known hero could determine whether Static Shock actually happens.
JJ Abrams has been quietly producing a DC Justice League Dark franchise for over two years, albeit with nothing to show for it. His supernatural umbrella reportedly encompasses HBO Max TV shows based around Madame X and John Constantine, as well as a Zatanna movie, combining into one quirky shared universe. Those plans are liable to change now Warner Bros. Discovery is restructuring its streaming platform, although the full consequences can’t be determined at this early stage. Given David Zaslav’s stance against releasing DC movies as streaming originals, Zatanna likely won’t arrive on HBO Max. The natural solution would be to morph the magician’s debut into a TV series, but with rumors claiming the amalgamated HBO Max/Discovery+ streaming service will move away from scripted content, the very future of JJ Abrams’ Justice League Dark experiment hangs in the balance.
First reported in late 2019, Warner Bros. has been busily working on a DCEU Wonder Woman spin-off based around the Amazons of Themyscira, with Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman and Wonder Woman 1984 director) serving as producer. Connie Nielsen reprises her role as Queen Hippolyta, and the timeline apparently straddles before and after 2017’s Wonder Woman movie. During his quarter 2 earnings call, however, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav explained how a new 10-year plan for DC movies was being implemented, hinting towards a franchise reset. Though no official announcement on the Themyscira spinoff movie has been made, Warner Bros.’ latest DCEU reshuffle could spell doom for direct spinoffs of existing characters like Diana Prince. if batgirl isn’t safe, the poor folks of Themyscira certainly aren’t.
More: The DCEU Disaster: Biggest Questions Facing WB Now
- Black Adam (2022)Release date: Oct 21, 2022
- Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2022)Release date: Dec 21, 2022
- Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023)Release date: Mar 17, 2023
- The Flash (2023)Release date: Jun 23, 2023
- Blue Beetle (2023)Release date: Aug 18, 2023
- Joker: Foil A Deux (2024)Release date: Oct 04, 2024
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