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Warner Bros. Discovery’s decision to suddenly cancel Batgirl devastated co-directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah as well as fans who eagerly anticipated a new movie with a strong female character. Batgirl was set to stream on HBO Max, but now it appears it won’t be released on any platform. WBD scrapped Batgirl, which it already paid more than $90 million for, as part of a strategic shift. However, the decision created a major problem as it ensured the DC Extended Universe will never compete with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Leslie Grace films 'Batgirl.' Filming finished but Warner Bros. scrapped 'Batgirl' as it plans for the future, which will just put it further behind the MCU.
Leslie Grace films ‘Batgirl’ | Warner Bros.

Warner Bros. cancels ‘Batgirl’ and Hollywood offers support to the directors

Batgirl’s surprise cancellation shocked El Arbi and Fallah, who had finished shooting the movie.

“We are saddened and shocked by the news. We still can’t believe it. As directors, it is critical that our work be shown to audiences, and while the film was far from finished, we wish that fans all over the world would have had the opportunity to see and embrace the final film themselves. Maybe one day they will insha’Allah,” El Arbi wrote in an Instagram post.

Fallah and El Arbi previously directed Bad Boys for Life and two episodes of Ms. Marvel, but now what might have become their biggest movie won’t ever see the light of day. 

Marvel boss Kevin Feige offered support to the directing team when the news broke, as Variety reports. Al Arbi said directors Edgar Wright and James Gunn also offered support to him and Fallah, per Variety.

The news shocked fans and everyone involved with the project. Warner Bros. indicated wants to plan out a theatrical future for the DCEU a la the MCU. However, the decision to scrap Batgirl creates a problem that ensures Warner Bros. it will never compete with Marvel.

Scrapping ‘Batgirl’ creates a major problem as it will only put the DCEU further behind the MCU

Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav ultimately owns the decision to throw away a $90 million movie. “We’re not going to launch a movie to make a quarter, and we’re not going to put a movie out unless we believe in it,” Zaslav said, per Variety.

Warner Bros. believed in Batgirl enough to spend $90 million making it, but not enough to let El Arbi and Fallah finish their work. Zaslav indicated the studio will look for a tax write-off for the movie as it regroups and plans out the DCEU future a la the MCU.

“These are brands that are known everywhere in the world,” the CEO said of the DC characters, per Variety. “And as part of that, we’re going to focus on quality. DC is something that we think we could make better, and we’re focused on it now.”

The major problem is that the DCEU doesn’t have a plan yet.

Feige took the stage at San Diego Comic-Con in late July and announced three years’ worth of MCU projects and several series for Disney+. A few days later, Zaslav essentially indicated WBD is rudderless as it navigates its future with its DC properties.

We know director Matt Reeves has The Batman 2 in the works. Charismatic star Jason Momoa revealed Ben Affleck’s role in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. Black Adam hits theaters later in 2022. But what about the troubled The Flash movie? Or Wonder Woman 3? Or The Joker sequel?

Zaslav wants to take some time to map out the future of the DCEU. That could mean slowing down the production pace as Warner Bros. searches for its Feige. 

But Marvel won’t wait. It will continue cranking out MCU blockbusters and bringing limited series to streaming. Every project Marvel releases that isn’t met with a DCEU response puts Warner Bros. farther and farther behind the competition, which is a long-term problem that strengthens Marvel’s stature with fans.

Fans call out Warner Bros. over the cancellation


‘Batgirl’: Leslie Grace ‘Hit a Nerve’ in Her Audition, Directors Say in Exclusive First Look at the Movie

The directors expressed gratitude for the opportunity to work on Batgirl, but fans weren’t quite as diplomatic. 

“​​WB: let’s scrap the Batgirl film with a promising young star, Michael Keaton Batman, & Brendan Fraser as the villain but make absolutely no changes to a Flash film where the star is currently hiding from the police,” one Twitter user wrote.

“We are living in a society where Morbius was in theaters not once, but TWICE, and Batgirl can’t even get an HBO Max debut,” another fan tweeted.

Batgirl’s cancellation may not be the last disappointment DC fans endure as Warner Bros. Discovery restructures itself. While the studio works behind the scenes to create quality DCEU content, Marvel will continue to pull ahead and leave Warner Bros. in the dust.

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