HBO Max’s Batgirl movie was going to be groundbreaking — but it’s now six feet under the ground.
Back in January 2022, trans actress Ivory Aquino was cast in Batgirl and was set to play trans character of Alysia Yeoh. In the comics, Alysia happened to be Batgirl a.k.a. Barbara Gordon’s very best friend. Overall, this casting choice – and LGBTQ+ character – would’ve been absolutely historic for a major superhero movie.
The cast also featured a star-studded lineup that included Leslie Grace as the titular character, J.K. Simmons as James Gordon, and even Michael Keaton reprising his role as Bruce Wayne for the first time since appearing in 1989’s Batman and the 1992 sequel Batman Returns.
However, The New York Post broke the story that after spending $100 million – way over the original budget of $70 million – on the film, Warner Bros has decided to cancel Batgirl. A source told the publication that studio executives felt like “an unspeakable Batgirl is going to be irredeemable.” As a result, the movie is no longer being released on HBO Max, as it had been originally planned.
Several media outlets are pointing fingers at the Warner Bros. Discovery merger as a reason why Batgirl has been shelved. The new “cost-cutting” approach at the studio seems to be a major priority at this time.
A day after news broke that Batgirl will no longer be released on HBO Max, filmmakers Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah shared a joint statement on Instagram that read:
“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. Batgirl For Life.”
Besides the cancelation of Batgirl, LeBron James’ reboot of House Party – which was also set to premiere on HBO Max this summer – was removed from the streamer’s release calendar. In turn, quite a few other streaming-exclusive movies have seemingly disappeared from the HBO Max catalog, such as Superintelligence with Melissa McCarthy, Moonshot starring Cole Sprouse and Lana Condor, The Witches remake with Anne Hathaway, among others.
To top it all off, a rival studio executive called Deadline reporter Justin Kroll to say that he “worked in this town for three decades and this is some unprecedented sh*t right here.” These are weird times!