The Batgirl saga is a symbol of a broken movie industry
Leslie Grace appears to be faced with a decision she should’ve never had to make in the first place.
Is there a more cynical microcosm of just how broken the movie industry currently is than the ongoing Batgirl-Warner Bros. Discovery fiasco? After the shocking news earlier this month that the release of the upcoming superhero movie was completely canned, Variety reports now that Warner is considering the possibility of still inviting Leslie Grace as Batgirl into future DC films.
Execs are “seeking to mend fences” with Grace, who would be understandably indignant about the situation: the Batgirl film had already been shot and was in the final stages of post-production before Warner decided to completely scrap its release and use it instead as a tax write-off.
The Batgirl saga has unfolded amid a particularly ruthless and, to many fans of all kinds of movies and TV, confounding time of corporate consolidation and slashing and burning: Warner Bros. and Discovery merged in April, leading to a ton of cost-cutting measures, canceled content, and most shockingly the recent announcement of a still-nebulous dissolution of the highly successful HBO Max streaming platform into a still-to-come HBO Max-Discovery combo service.
What’s more, the Batgirl film appears to have been a casualty of the streaming wars in a way far more literal than most. Part of the decision to scrap its release had to do with poor test scores for a screening of an early director’s cut, but the results may have been informed, according to Variety, by visuals that were “designed to be watched on television, not a big screen.” And all of this is to say nothing about the glaring disconnect many have noted in how Warner, while casually scrapping Batgirl, has steadfastly barreled forward on committing to The Flash, doing reshoots (and potentially harboring an actively wanted fugitive) with Ezra Miller, whose list of disconcerting crimes grows. (Miller released a statement apologizing on Wednesday, stating that they would get professional help for mental health issues.)
Of course, it is no surprise that corporations don’t really care about your faves if it messes with the finances. But the current situation appears particularly bleak: while the debate over what Marvel and the superhero era have done to movies at large, both from an artistic and commercial standpoint, has gone on for years, we’ve now reached a point where even a completed superhero blockbuster isn’t worth a release if the bottom line is edged out by an addendum for the IRS.
Where this all leaves Batgirl herself, Leslie Grace, remains to be seen. On one hand, it would be particularly insulting to be invited back to shoot guest spots for other properties after her standalone film was tossed out in such a way — one wouldn’t blame her for walking away from this corporate shit show and moving on. Then again, the role would, even in smaller parts in other films, solidify her as a starring name.
"On the heels of the recent news about our movie Batgirl, I am proud of the love, hard work and intention all of our incredible cast and tireless crew put into this film over seven months in Scotland," Grace wrote in a post soon after the announcement of Batgirl’s canceled release. "I feel blessed to have worked among absolute greats and forged relationships for a lifetime in the process! To every Batgirl fan — THANK YOU for the love and belief, allowing me to take on the cape and become, as Babs said best, 'my own damn hero!' #Batgirl for life!”