Despite the dismal critical reception to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, most moviegoers agreed that early worries that Ben Affleck would be miscast as the Dark Knight proved to be unfounded. In fact, “Batfleck” has become such a hit, that Warner Bros. appears to be even more committed to shifting its DC Extended Universe in the direction of Gotham. The most recent development, of course, is the news that Joss Whedon will be writing, directing, and producing a film focused on Batman’s longtime ally, Barbara Gordon aka Batgirl.
Aside from the obvious coup of DC landing the man behind The Avengers, the concept of a Batgirl film gives the DCEU the opportunity to redeem the character’s last live-action film appearance in 1997’s infamous Batman & Robin, where the character was played by Alicia Silverstone.
Naturally, the internet soon started buzzing about which lucky actress could land the plum role, so we started speculating ourselves. Since early word indicates that Whedon’s film will focus on Barbara’s recovery and return to crimefighting following her debilitating attack at the hands of the Joker (as depicted in The Killing Joke), we’re looking specifically at actresses in their mid-20s. Don’t expect to see much-discussed names like Hailee Steinfeld or Anya Taylor-Joy, appear here, as they’re too young to play mid-career Batgirl.
Instead, we’re turning to recognizable faces — though not necessarily marquee names — who possess the action chops and charisma to headline a Batgirl film. Also, any stars who are active in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — Rosario Dawson and Karen Gillan, for example — will be excluded, since they’re unlikely to be considered.
1. Jane Levy
All credit for this one goes to Vanity Fair senior writer Joanna Robinson, who first brought the genius casting idea to our attention. Jane Levy may not be a household name, but DC is likely looking to elevate a rising star with the role of Batgirl, not shell out big money to bring a star in.
Levy has already impressed moviegoers with lead turns in director Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead and Don’t Breathe, demonstrating a knack for action and the heart of a leading lady. Playing the iconic Batgirl would be a star-making role for Levy, and the role would be lucky to have her.
2. Emma Stone
Thanks to Barbara Gordon’s red hair, this Oscar-winning actress — who has already played Spider-Man’s love interest Gwen Stacy in a pair of films — was quickly fan-cast in the role of Batgirl. While there’s no doubt that she would nail the part, Emma Stone might be too big of a name, as she would likely require a pricey multi-film contract.
The fact that Batgirl is an offshoot of the Batman property will probably be enough of a draw without a star as massive as Stone attached.
3. Mary Elizabeth Winstead
It feels like Mary Elizabeth Winstead is destined to land a superhero role at some point, doesn’t it? After all, she has a long history of dabbling in genre work, from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World to 10 Cloverfield Lane. With so much geek cred to her name, Winstead certainly has the appeal that would bring in hardcore fans and casual moviegoers alike. Moreover, she is a vastly underrated actress whose work has gone unappreciated for far too long. Playing Batgirl could be the career move she needs to leap onto the A-list at last.
4. Hayley Atwell
We know. We said that MCU players were disqualified from this list, but seeing as Hayley Atwell’s time as Peggy Carter is almost certainly at an end, we figured she could use another shot at superhero stardom.
Thanks to her MCU work, Atwell has a devoted fanbase in the genre and has already worked with Whedon. She also possesses the right balance of toughness and vulnerability that would make her a great choice to play Barbara Gordon.
5. Shailene Woodley
Now that the Divergent series is pretty much out of steam, Shailene Woodley might be on the lookout for another franchise. At just 25 years old, she is barely old enough to play an experienced Batgirl, but her work in films like The Fault in Our Stars have secured her a loyal following among millennials and beyond.
Once upon a time, she was slated to play Mary Jane Watson in a Spider-Man film, so why not give her the chance to play another famous comic book redhead?
6. Summer Glau
If we’re being perfectly honest, we half-expect Whedon to reach out to the talented actresses he’s worked with in the past in order to find his Batgirl. Summer Glau — who’s best known for her work as River Tam on Firefly and in Whedon’s feature directorial debut, Serenity — might be one of the most qualified. We know she can pull off action with grace and precision, and she certainly has the range to stand toe-to-toe with Ben Affleck’s Batman.
7. Morena Baccarin
Another Firefly alum (can you blame us?), Morena Baccarin may be most recognizable to moviegoers for her role in Deadpool, but she’s been a long-standing member of the DC world for far longer than that. Most notably, she is a series regular on Fox’s Gotham as Leslie Thompkins and has voiced Talia al Ghul in a pair of animated films.
Baccarin is no stranger to the Batman mythos, but she may be a bit too old to play a younger Batgirl to Affleck’s Batman. But if not Barbara Gordon, she’d make a dynamite Selina Kyle. Are you listening, Warner Bros.?
8. Tatiana Maslany
Tatiana Maslany has yet to really become a mainstream talent on the big-screen, but her work on the acclaimed sci-fi drama Orphan Black has her poised for a cinematic breakthrough. Winning a ton of awards for her performance as several vastly different clones, Maslany has wowed viewers time and again.
We’d be curious to see what she could bring to the role of Batgirl, if given the chance to do so.
9. Rebecca Ferguson
When film series are as far along as Mission: Impossible, one doesn’t expect to see a new breakout star steal the show, but Rebecca Ferguson did just that opposite Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation.
As Ilsa Faust, she brought such charisma to the screen that she walked away with the entire film, more than holding her own opposite Cruise’s Ethan Hunt. We’re certain that she would bring the same commitment to Batgirl and could prove to be a key member of the DCEU going forward.
10. Priyanka Chopra
If Warner Bros. is looking to elevate a rising star, then casting Priyanka Chopra as Barbara Gordon might be a smart move. Back when Whedon was developing a Wonder Woman film at the studio, she was reportedly in talks to take on that iconic DC hero. Thanks to ABC’s Quantico, her star is now even brighter.
It stands to reason that Whedon might reach out to her about playing Batgirl, since Gal Gadot is now firmly playing Diana Prince in the DCEU.
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