Superhero movies are more popular than ever in Hollywood (and, of course, at the box office) – and as the genre has diversified to include more comic book characters, so too has the roster of directors making these films. For example, David Ayer – director of such gritty fare as End of Watch and Fury – is bringing a team of DC Comics supervillains to life in this year’s Suicide Squad; the filmmaker behind quirky New Zealand comedies Eagle vs Shark and What We Do in the Shadows, Taika Waititi, is calling the shots on the intergalactic buddy romp, Thor: Ragnarok; and Patty Jenkins, the writer/director of the Oscar-winning serial killer drama Monster, is leading the charge for the WWI-set mythological adventure, Wonder Woman.
Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn – who is known for The Pusher trilogy, Valhalla Rising, and Drive, among other movies – has also expressed his interest in tackling a superhero film, in the past. He has continued to do so while he promotes his latest film release, The Neon Demon, by specifically name-dropping a DC Comics character who has yet to appear in a 21st century, live-action, superhero blockbuster.
Refn, speaking with Business Insider as he was out and about promoting The Neon Demon, expressed his continued interest in making a superhero film – asking “What ones are left?” before saying “You know the one I want to do? I want to make Batgirl. Let’s get Warner working on it.”
The filmmaker also explained why a superhero movie sounds appealing to him, even after having spent the last twenty years making lower-budgeted films that are meant primarily for the arthouse movie crowd:
“God, I would love to make one, it would probably be great fun. I just don’t know when it’s going to happen. I very much enjoy my freedom creatively, but I also would love to make one of those big Hollywood films that costs a lot of money and has a lot of people running around with cell phones and all that insanity.”
It was rumored that Jena Malone (who, by coincidence, costars in The Neon Demon) had been cast as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice long before the film hit theaters – though, her scenes were cut from the theatrical version of the movie. While Malone’s scenes will be restored in the upcoming Batman V Superman “Ultimate Edition” release on Digital HD and Blu-ray/DVD, it’s already been indicated (but not yet confirmed) that she is not, in fact, playing Jim Gordon’s daughter as rumored.
It’s expected that the Batgirl character will indeed become a part of the DC Extended Universe (started by Man of Steel and Batman V Superman), somewhere down the line. Batgirl will be featured in two titles from the ongoing DC Comics Rebirth event – Batgirl and Batgirl and the Birds of Prey – scheduled to get started next month (July 2016), so it’s a given that the character will continue to be an important part of the DC Comics franchise. In addition, it’s been rumored that Batgirl could make her DCEU debut in either a Birds of Prey film or an as-yet untitled DCEU movie centered around Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and other female DC characters – a film reportedly in the early stages of development right now.
Refn’s habit of making “hard R-Rated” movies that are meticulously crafted, but distinctly unconventional in terms of their storytelling approach, doesn’t exactly make him an obvious fit for a mainstream, presumably PG-13 superhero movie. Nevertheless, Refn seems interested in following up The Neon Demon by making even more films centered around women – in particular, of the superhero variety, having previously expressed his interest in directing a Wonder Woman movie starring Christina Hendricks (his Drive and Neon Demon costar). A Refn-directed DCEU Batgirl film (or any mainstream superhero film) still seems quite unlikely to ever happen – but again, nowadays you can’t be too certain about what filmmakers will or won’t end up signing on for a superhero movie, eventually.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice‘s “Ultimate Edition” will become available on Digital HD on June 28th, 2016 and Blu-ray on July 19th, 2016.
Suicide Squad will arrive on August 5, 2016, followed by Wonder Woman on June 2, 2017; Justice League on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 16, 2018; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020.