Warner Bros. shocked the world recently when its new management decided it wanted to completely cancel Batgirl. What makes this an unprecedented move for the industry is how the movie was already finished filming and in the midst of editing—but now all of that has been thrown down the drain.
Voices from across the industry have spoken out about the shocking move, including the likes of Justice League's Ray Fisher and Shang-Chi's Simu Liu. Reportedly, even DC Films President Walter Hamada almost exited the studio due to the decision.
It's understandable why so many people would be upset—all of that work has been unceremoniously thrown away. The work of the entire crew and cast will never be seen; Leslie Grace's debut as Barbra Gordon is now forever lost all thanks to a tax write-off.
But what are the chances that any footage from the project might make it out to the general public?
Batgirl Director Tried to Salvage Footage
In an interview translated from French with Skript, Bilall Fallah, one of the directors for the recently canceled Batgirl movie, revealed that his fellow director, Adil El Arbi, tried to get him to salvage some of the footage on his phone.
Sadly, when Fallah went on the server, "everything was gone," including all of the scenes with Michael Keaton's Batman:
"No, we have nothing. Adil called and told me, 'Go ahead! Shoot everything on your phone!' I went on the server... Everything was gone. We were [like]... 'F**ing shit!'... We did not [even] keep [the scenes] with Batman in it."
In the same interview, the two directors confirmed that there were still additional scenes to be shot, and almost no VFX was present, so even if they wanted to, they would not be able to release a finished film:
"The guys from Warner Bros. told us it was not a talent problem on our part or the actress [Leslie Grace], or even the quality of the movie. We were right in the middle of editing. There was a lot of work to get done, so it was not like the movie was finished! Warner Bros. told us the cancellation was a strategic change, a shifting in management so they could save some bucks."
The duo also responded to the fan support on social media and the campaign to get the film released in some form. Fallah expressed his initial feelings of shock and anger after receiving the news, but was helped along after seeing the level of support from fans online:
Fallah: "First, when I heard the news, I was shocked. I did not know how to react. I wanted to break stuff, cry..."
El Arbi: "Even laugh! (laughs)"
Fallah: "I was like, 'It's not happening.' But seeing all this support on the Internet, like Twitter... and even big directors like Edgar Wright and James Gunn sent us supportive messages. It was very heartwarming."
El Arbi echoed his partner's feelings, saying that they make movies "for the audience" at the end of the day, not themselves, and hoped that the film could see the light of day at some point:
El Arbi: "It was very heartwarming... After all, we make movies. And we make it for the audience. Not us. We just hope that one day, the movie can be released."
Fallah: "For the cast, the crew... we are..."
El Arbi: "A small family."
Fallah: "A small family! We hope, inshallah, it happens."
The directors previously shared their initial reaction regarding Batgirl's cancellation shortly after hearing the news, issuing a joint statement online:
"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.Our amazing cast and crew did a tremendous job and worked so hard to bring Batgirl to life. We are forever grateful to have been part of that team. It was a dream to work with such fantastic actors like Michael Keaton, JK Simmons, Brendan Fraser, Jacob Scipio, Corey Johnson, Rebecca Front and especially the great Leslie Grace, who portrayed Batgirl with so much passion, dedication and humanity.In any case, as huge fans of Batman since we were little kids, it was a privilege and an honor to have been a part of the DCEU, even if it was for a brief moment."
Will Batgirl Truly Never See the Light of Day?
It's hard to grasp the concept that this movie, which has been talked about for years now and even went through its entire production, is just simply gone. Many fans are hoping that maybe one day the footage will get out there somehow—it's honestly a shame Fallah was unable to capture anything on his phone.
What makes matters worse is that since Warner Bros. wrote the movie off for taxes to save a quick buck, now it's actually illegal for the company to release any footage from the movie in any official capacity. Why? Well, they can't profit from the project in any way, so any form of monetization is off the table.
If anything does get out in the future, it would be in the form of a leak from someone internally, kind of like how Deadpool came to be.
Interestingly enough, there are reports that this isn't the end for Leslie Grace's Batgirl. Rumor has it that WB is working on getting her version of the character in a future DC Films project. Though given what they did to her movie, it's hard to see a future where the actress plays ball—simply put, she can't trust them.