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Batgirl film finds new directing duo & sets HBO Max premiere following Joss Whedon’s exit

By Benjamin Bullard
Barbara Gordon Batgirl

After spending some time in creative limbo, Warner Bros.’ big-screen ambitions for Jim Gordon's famous daughter appear to finally be emerging from Gotham City’s swirling mist. The long-planned Batgirl film, set to follow Barbara Gordon's crime-fighting footsteps, has reportedly found a new directing duo — three years after Joss Whedon walked away from the project.

Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, the same directing pair behind Bad Boys for Life as well as the upcoming Ms. Marvel series at Disney+, have signed on to helm the new Batgirl movie, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The Moroccan-born duo is widely credited for helping revive the Bad Boys film franchise (and for achieving big box office numbers in a pandemic-depressed 2020). They went on to take up showrunning and co-producing duties for Ms. Marvel — while also reportedly directing that season’s first and final episodes.

Whedon, who has since faced accusations from former acting collaborators of alleged abusive behavior on the sets of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and other projects both bygone and recent, drew gasps from DC fans in 2018 after stepping away from writing and directing duties, confessing that he couldn’t “crack the code” on creating a fresh Batgirl story. Warner Bros. and DC had remained mostly quiet about the movie’s status until today’s news that El Arbi and Fallah have taken over the reins.

Created as a female TV counterpart for Batman, Batgirl was introduced to comic book fans in 1967, in issue #359 (“The Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl!”) of Detective Comics. The print debut paved the way for her appearance later that year on the small screen, where she was played by the late Yvonne Craig in the series’ season-opening episode.

More recently, Batgirl was played on the big screen by Alicia Silverstone in 1997’s Batman & Robin (though she showed up not as Jim Gordon’s daughter, but as Albert Pennyworth’s niece under the name “Barbara Wilson”). Rosario Dawson also voiced a blocky animated version of Batgirl for 2017’s The Lego Batman Movie.

Cruella co-producer Kristin Burr is producing the new Batgirl movie, which THR reports is now destined for a direct debut at HBO Max. With a new directing pair and what appears to be fresh creative legs under writer Christina Hodson (Bumblebee, Birds of Prey, The Flash), the Batgirl film doesn’t yet have an official title or release keep watching Gotham's dark skies for that next Bat-signal.