Movies & TV / Columns

Is Joss Whedon Making a Mistake Directing Batgirl?

April 1, 2017 | Posted by Steve Gustafson

Batgirl is getting her own standalone movie with director Joss Whedon at the helm. Whedon is nearing a deal to write, direct, and produce an untitled Batgirl movie for Warner Bros. as part of its DC Extended Universe.

A few different angles come out of this story. Whedon moving over to the DCEU after having made The Avengers and The Avengers: Age of Ultron for Marvel and his involvement with Agents of SHIELD for Marvel Entertainment is certainly raising eyebrows. Whedon spoke on the Empire Film Podcast back in 2015 and detailed his struggles to keep some of the slower, character-driven moments in the cut and how he had to play “give and take” with the studio. Whedon said:

“The dreams were not an executive favorite either — the dreams, the farmhouse, these were things I fought to keep…With the cave, it really turned into: they pointed a gun at the farm’s head and said, “Give us the cave, or we’ll take out the farm,” — in a civilized way. I respect these guys, they’re artists, but that’s when it got really, really unpleasant.”

Last year, ComicBook.com reported that during a Q&A session, Whedon clarified the nature of his relationship with Marvel, stating that he is no longer involved in the creation of Marvel films or shows in any significant capacity:

“I’ve gone off the reservation for a while. It was five years that I was working on either Avengers or S.H.I.E.L.D….That was an enormous gift they gave me; they handed me several hundreds of millions of dollars and said ‘do what you do,’ which is very rare and I was very lucky. At the same time, it’s important for me not just to have my own thing and do something smaller, but also to create a new challenge for myself because I will start to repeat myself.”

To put a stamp on it, during an interview with Oxford Union, he was asked if he would ever return to the MCU. His words:

No. You know I was their sort of Consigliere for a while… We do not discuss our thing… [audience laughter] But, I sort of had my finger in all of the films in the second phase, but then I just had to concentrate only on Ultron, and sort of know when it was done I was just going to stop. So I made a completely clean break – not because we had a falling out – just because I was like, “I can’t…” If I was still there going, “Well, here are my thoughts on this film,” I’d be there every day. I wouldn’t do anything else because there are a lot of films, and it is a lot of fun. It’s very seductive. When you can put your little fairy dust on things and just improve them slighty, and they actually listen to you… I was a script doctor for a long time, and the part where they listen to you was very rare; so it was very important for my own self to go “we can still be friends.””

Marvel’s loss is DC’s gain.

Although this isn’t Whedon’s first dance with DC. Back in 2007 he had signed on to write and direct a Wonder Woman movie but that fell apart. Now he joins DC as they are setting up there cinematic universe. Which looks like it’s being throw together on the fly more and more.

DC made a big show a couple of years ago announcing it’s film lineup and whenever a character seems to get a little attention, a movie project is greenlit soon after. Batgirl joins a lineup of upcoming DCEU films that includes Wonder Woman, Justice League, Aquaman, a Suicide Squad sequel, Gotham City Sirens, The Batman, Shazam, and Black Adam, The Flash. and Cyborg. Did I miss any? I’m sure we’ll get a Superman flick in there somewhere.

I’m seeing lots of moving parts and Whedon joins a cinematic universe desperately searching for direction. How he’ll fit in the DC machine remains to be seen.

What do you think about the Whedon directing Batgirl announcement?