Everything there is to know about ‘Batgirl’

‘Batgirl,’ starring Leslie Grace from ‘In the Heights,’ dives deep into the live-action debut of Barbara Gordon as the standalone heroine in Gotham with her new upcoming HBO Max project, releasing sometime in 2022.

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While details surrounding the plot are disclosed, the film will exist in the DCEU (DC Entertainment Universe) alongside “The Suicide Squad” and future projects such as “Blue Beetle” and “The Flash.” The HBO Max original will debut Leslie Grace as Batgirl and Brendan Frasier, who previously played Robotman in “Doom Patrol,” as the main antagonist of the project: Firefly. 

Recently, Warner Bros. announced that Michael Keaton will play his version of the Dark Knight in the movie after appearing in “The Flash.” He first played the character in Tim Burton’s “Batman” in 1989 and is now actively working with Warner Bros. on his involvement in the DCEU.

J.K Simmons will also reprise his role from “Justice League” and “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” as Jim Gordon, Barbara Gordon’s father and commissioner of the GCPD. Details surrounding his character are still unknown.

“Batgirl” went through a slow and sluggish process before finally reaching its now consistent pace with production. She was originally going to appear in “Birds of Prey” alongside Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, but she was taken off the roster when talks of a solo film with Barbara began to arise in 2016. Joss Whedon worked on the project in 2017 as a director, writer and producer. However, he left the project a year later, stating that he never found solid footing when working on the HBO Max original. 

“The story kind of just crumbled in my hands,” Whedon told Variety. “There were elements that I just hadn’t mastered that, after a long time, felt like I wasn’t going to. I told people that I didn’t have an idea, which isn’t an exact truth. I had an idea, but it didn’t fit in the space that was left for it. It was a little heartbreaking.”

Screenwriter Christina Hodson, who previously did work on “Birds of Prey” and “Bumblebee,” later took on screenwriting the film after Whedon’s departure.

“Batgirl…honestly it’s funny, there’s a little piece of me in every character I write,” Hodson told Variety in 2019. “They start with me, and then they take on a life of their own. She’s been through so many iterations. There’s certain characteristics of hers that are always there that I’m excited to develop further. Whenever I’m writing a character who’s based on someone who’s existed in a previous form, whether it’s comics or a movie or anything, I always hope to bring something new to them and bring them to life in their own way, even if they are fairly iconic like Harley Quinn or Batgirl. I think fans want the original, to be honest, but they also want to see something they haven’t seen before.”

She penned both scripts for “Birds of Prey” and “The Flash,” convincing Warner Bros. to hire her for the future HBO Max original.

The directing duo Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, who worked on “Bad Boys for Life ” and the future Disney + project “Ms. Marvel,” were later tapped to helm the movie in May of 2021.

When they talked with Grace on 2021’s DC Fandom, they explained why they chose her for the role.

“We wanted to have a very broad, broad casting. It was a very broad a range of ages and races, and what was important for us was that the best actress for the part would be cast. Eventually, we saw Leslie and it was a goose bump moment,” Arbi and Fallah revealed at the event. “She just, like that, hit a nerve and it felt like, ‘Okay, we are actually watching Barbara go.”

Others tied to the project are producer Kristen Burr — who supported other films such as  “Christopher Robin” and “Cruella” — and “Loki” composer Natalie Holt — an award-winning musician who worked on “Paddington” and composed the OST for the 2020 drama “Herself.”

In Dec. 2020, Warner Bros. announced that “Batgirl” will release exclusively on HBO Max — similar to the upcoming TV series “Peacemaker” starring John Cena. “Blue Beetle” was also given the same treatment until Dec. 2021, when Warner Bros. announced that in 2023 it will hit theatres rather than being an exclusive on the streaming service. It is still unclear whether or not “Batgirl” would release in theaters.

Starring Leslie Grace, J.K Simmons, Brendan Frasier, Jacob Scipio in an unknown role and Keaton as Batman, “Batgirl” will release on HBO Max sometime in 2022. 

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