Hollywood has always been a complicated place with lots of moving parts, and recent years have seen that grow more confusing than ever with the rise of streaming services. Not only are more series than ever being developed on big budgets, but blockbuster movies are being made for streaming services, and among the latest was HBO Max's Batgirl.
Unfortunately, Warner Bros. just announced its decision to cancel Batgirl - which was set to star In the Heights' Leslie Grace and to be directed by Ms. Marvel's Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah - despite having already concluded production and being far into post-production.
There have been a number of reasons given for the cancelation between poor quality, tax purposes, and a change in the company's overall direction, but the official explanation is that the choice "reflects [their] leadership's strategic shift."
Now, as fans react with shock to the cancelation, several Marvel filmmakers have offered their own thoughts.
Marvel Talent Reacts to Batgirl Cancelation
Ms. Marvel writer A.C. Bradley, Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson, and Doctor Strange screenwriter C. Robert Cargill reacted to HBO Max's surprising decision to cancel the release of the Batgirl movie.
Bradley, who collaborated with Batgirl directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah on Ms. Marvel, shared her shock by saying "WTF!" and calling for Warner Bros. to "#ReleaseTheAdilandBilallCut."
Derrickson noted how he has "never seen this with a movie this size." After a follower pointed out the movie's minority star and directors, Derrickson seemed to question whether that played a role in Warner Bros.' decision: "wow what a coincidence, huh?"
Cargill was similarly baffled by the decision, sympathizing with the amount of effort Batgirl's cast and crew put in only for the project to be unceremoniously shelved:
"The idea that you could pour a year or more of your life into a project, actually shoot it, get right up to the finish line on it, and then watch it evaporate into the ether for a corporate tax break is a nightmare. I feel so hard for everyone reeling from this right now."
Batgirl Shakes Hollywood
HBO Max's sudden cancelation of Batgirl has truly shaken Hollywood, with many calling the move completely unprecedented. Canceling a flick that has already wrapped production and is well into post-production is certainly a unique move, but Warner Bros. Discovery doesn't seem as invested in the previous management's desire to push HBO Max.
Although there have been a number of reports regarding the actual quality of the film, most seem to agree Batgirl wasn't that bad. With the mass outcry that has already been generated, will the quest to release Batgirl become the next "#ReleaseTheSnyderCut," or will it quickly grow forgotten as it was before?
The industry reactions to Batgirl have certainly proven interesting, with many criticizing Warner Bros.' decision to abandon the work of the entire cast and crew. There's no doubt many of those involved will be hesitant to work with the studio or DC again after the treatment of the Batman spin-off.
Who knows whether Leslie Grace will ever go on to play Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl, in the future of the DCEU, but the chances are currently looking slim. Directors El Arbi and Fallah just recently collaborated with Marvel Studios on Ms. Marvel, so perhaps their comic book future may be over there on Season 2 or other projects.
Sadly, Batgirl will not release on HBO Max or in theaters.