The sudden announcement Joss Whedon is set to helm a solo Batgirl movie has been met with equal amounts of shock and excitement. The idea of a filmmaker who’s so closely tied with the Marvel Cinematic Universe walking across the street to DC is a shocker, but it’s difficult to think of a writer/director better suited to bringing Barbara Gordon to life. From Buffy to Black Widow, Whedon has demonstrated his ability to create and develop strong female heroes time and time again.
Combined with the recent news of the Gotham City Sirens and Nightwing movies, it means DC will be plenty busy for the next few years. Obviously, the next big step will be casting Barbara herself, and thankfully, there’s no shortage of actresses who would do the role justice.
At present, there’s precious little known about the Batgirl movie; basic information like the planned release date is still a complete mystery. It could find Barbara (if she’s even the one wearing the cape this time out, that is) as a newbie crimefighter or a hardened vet of Gotham City, which allows a wide net for potential casting choices. Assuming that the character hasn’t already been cast, when it comes to the all-important question of who should play Batgirl, Joss could do a hell of a lot worse than considering the group of actresses gathered here.
Alicia Silverstone probably shouldn’t be expecting a call, though.
15. Evan Rachel Wood
Westworld reminded everyone just how great Evan Rachel Wood can be when she’s handed the right material, and she helped turn Dolores into the heart of the show. It shouldn’t have been that big a surprise, really, since the 29-year-old has been consistently impressive in movies like Thirteen, The Wrestler and Across The Universe throughout her nearly two-decade-long career.
Wood would be a natural for a slightly older take on Batgirl, and would easily be able to project the inner strength of the character. The actress doesn’t have much experience with larger budget movies either, so taking on an iconic character, while working with a director who knows the genre like the back of his hand, would be a great introduction.
Outside of Westworld season 2, she doesn’t appear to have many other acting commitments on the horizon, so availability shouldn’t be much of an issue. Wood is also an actress fans have long considered a great fit for Barbara, and it would cool to see her get a chance to prove it.
14. Elle Fanning
At just 18-year-old, Elle Fanning is the youngest performer on our list by a healthy margin. The actress has been quite busy over the last few years, cropping up in Super 8, Maleficent, and The Neon Demon, amongst several other projects. Her star only looks set to shine even brighter in the years to come, and all she needs is that one major role to push her over into full-on stardom.
If the Batgirl movie is seeking a teenage version of Barbara Gordon, Fanning would more than fit the bill. She certainly has the acting chops necessary, and we feel that she’d be able to convincingly pull off the dual identity aspect of the role. She also has a link to the DC Extended Universe thanks to Ben Affleck, who directed and acted alongside her in Live By Night. In fairness, the physical side could be a question mark, as she has yet to take on any sort of action role in her brief time in Hollywood. Even that wouldn’t be much of a roadblock with some intensive training and a well-placed stunt double or two, though, and it would surprising to hear that Fanning wasn’t at least in consideration for the movie.
13. Alia Shawkat
Alia Shawkat will be forever be remembered as Arrested Development‘s Mae Funke, the sarcastic daughter of Tobias and Lindsey. Mae was functional in ways that most of her family weren’t, and her dry humor quickly made her a favorite amongst the series’ outspoken fanbase.
Shawkat has been quite busy in the years since the show ended, showing up in projects as varied as Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday, Portlandia, and Green Room. She’d no doubt be considered something of a left-field choice for the character, which is exactly what makes her so interesting.
She can play the quiet, self-assured nature the character requires in both guises, and she could infuse the role with the dryness often required of a Whedon heroine. Nearly every movie project she’s been a part of has been an indie or low-budget release, so it would be genuinely exciting to see how she’d adapt to a blockbuster role.
12. Mary Elisabeth Winstead
When it comes to Mary Elisabeth Winstead’s career, one thing has been proven time after time: even if the movie sucks, she’ll be great in it. Audiences who saw the 2011 remake of The Thing or Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter will know this firsthand.
Winstead is probably best known for playing Ramona Flowers in Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, so she brings some undeniable geek cred to the table, but she’s been able to mix it up with an impressive range of parts throughout her career, from heavy dramas to silly horror movies. If she’s in consideration for the Batgirl movie, there’d be no need to worry if she could pull it off, because there’s ample proof in her filmography already.
While she hasn’t played a straight-ahead action hero before, her mix of sci-fi and horror roles have shown that she’s more than capable to tackle the requirements needed. 10 Cloverfield Lane also showed that she’s able to take down human monsters and otherwise, a skill that any future crimefighter might need. At the end of the day, she’d certainly be a popular choice, perhaps even a safe one (if there is such a thing with comic book movie castings).
11. Natalie Morales
Natalie Morales is far from the biggest name on this list, but she’s quietly been building up her acting resume of interesting characters. While the cancellation of The Grinder still remains a heartbreaking reality for the surprisingly good series’ loyal fans, Morales proved herself a great comic foil for Rob Lowe on the show.
Elsewhere, she’s made appearances in Girls, Parks and Rec, and Powerless. In terms of film work, she’s really an untapped talent, with her biggest role to date being an appearance in the forgotten Drew Barrymore/Justin Long rom-com, Going The Distance.
When it comes to selecting an actress for a beloved role like this, the studio typically has two choices: pick an established actor that will bring a legion of devoted fans along for the ride, or go for a lesser known but talented performer that can truly embody the role for years to come. Morales definitely falls into the latter category, and would undoubtedly prove to be a big surprise for audiences unfamiliar with her work.
10. Anna Kendrick
Before the Pitch Perfect series made her a star, Anna Kendrick had built up a reputation as an outright scene stealer in movies like Scott Pilgrim and Twilight. Since then, she’s been a consistent delight, moving back and forth between comedies, musicals and, err, musical comedies.
She might seem like an unusual choice to lead a superhero movie, since none of her earlier characters even remotely echo the likes of Barbara Gordon, but that’s why she’d be an inspired pick. She’d be able to bring an unusual, quirky vibe to the character, and it’s hard to imagine that she and Whedon would be anything less than movie magic if paired together.
At 31, she might be considered a little older than what the studio has in mind, but even that shouldn’t be much of an issue, since she can easily pass for a person a decade younger. (That’s a great quality to have in Hollywood, we hear.) She also co-starred in The Accountant with Ben Affleck in 2016, and jokingly said that she’d love to play Robin during an interview. It was a gag obviously, but it got a lot of fans intrigued by the notion of her joining the Bat Family in some capacity.
9. Saoirse Ronan
Saoirse Ronan may not have the easiest name to pronounce, but there’s no denying her talent. She’s racked up a diverse range of characters and movies over the last decade, and despite being just 22-year-old, she’s already racked up two Oscar nods for her work in Atonement and Brooklyn.
Ronan seems to prefer roles in smaller scale productions, though she did take the lead in failed franchise starter The Host back in 2013. Assuming that that terrible YA film didn’t sour her on the notion of starring in big-budget films, Batgirl could be a perfect choice to jump back into the mainstream, where she’d portray a kickass hero attempting to lead a double life as a normal-ish young woman.
Ronan has already mastered the American accent in previous movies and displayed some convincing physical prowess for 2011’s Hanna. Ronan is another actress seemingly poised to break into major stardom at any moment, and Batgirl would be a nice transition role to do just that.
8. Nathalie Emmanuel
Despite her limited number of acting credits, Nathalie Emmanuel’s career definitely appears to be off to a hot start. She’s best known for Game Of Thrones, of course, where she plays Missandei, Daenerys Targaryen’s translator and most trusted ally. She’s also a recent addition to the Fast And The Furious movies, playing the computer hacker Ramsey, and she has a role in The Maze Runner series as well. Despite being a side character in most of her projects, she’s brought a lot of humanity to Missandei since her arrival in the HBO sensation, and she must be used to the rigors of a big budget movie after filming two Fast And Furious films.
While she’s a familiar face to many, she hasn’t had much of a chance to show what she can with a leading role. She hasn’t demonstrated much in the way of action chops either, so if Warner Bros. is willing to think outside the box in terms of casting, then Emmanuel would be a cool, unexpected choice.
7. Hailee Steinfeld
Despite her age (she’s 20), Hailee Steinfeld has been already achieved an insanely high number of varied roles and is typically great in pretty much everything she does. She broke out back in 2010 with True Grit, playing a stubborn teenager tracking down her father’s killer. She earned an Oscar nomination for her feature film debut, and since then, she’s popped up in the Pitch Perfect sequel, Ender’s Game, and The Edge Of Seventeen.
If DC is looking to skew a little younger with Batgirl (which would make sense if they have long-term plans for the character), then Steinfeld is surely someone they must be considering. She’s done everything from drama to comedy to action, and her resume already sports a wide variety of different character types, a collection that actresses twice her age would be envious of. She’s definitely not going to be typecasted anytime soon, that’s for sure.
She’s also appeared in a few movies as a rebellious young woman clashing with a grouchy father figure — True Grit, 3 Days To Kill, etc. — so the dynamic of Barbara’s relationship with Commissioner Gordon (and Batman, for that matter) would certainly be familiar to her.
6. Tatiana Maslany
For most actresses, it takes multiple projects to build up a resume of interesting performances; all Tatiana Maslany needed was Orphan Black. The show finds the 31-year-old playing a group of clones, all with distinct personalities, and she does a seamless job jumping between them all.
It’s an astonishing juggling act, and she’s rightly being showered with praise for her work. Maslany has a hefty filmography of credits elsewhere, appearing in everything from George Romero’s Diary Of The Dead to Parks And Recreation. While she’s racked up plenty of acclaim in her brief time in the industry, Hollywood appears to be slow off the mark offering her interesting movie roles.
She’s nearly always in a supporting role when she does appear in a film, though she’s usually the most interesting part of them. Again, she’s not the typical choice for this type of movie, but if she’s proved anything in her career, it’s that she’s a chameleon, so a Batsuit would be no problem.
5. Anya Taylor-Joy
Great actors often seem to pop up overnight these days, which is certainly the case with Anya Taylor-Joy. Despite her relatively tiny list of acting credits, she’s already considered one of the most promising up-and-comers around thanks to her haunting work in The Witch. While Morgan was something of a misfire, she was still great in it, and she achieved more buzz for Split.
She’s already lined up to appear in the X-Men universe for The New Mutants movie, so the genre is something she’s interested in. She’s probably receiving a tidal wave of offers off the back of Split, and it wouldn’t be all that shocking if Batgirl was one of them. She also could bring a darker edge to Barbara than what’s been seen in various cartoons or animated movies, or *shudder* Batman & Robin.
Taylor-Joy surely won’t be hurting for projects in the next few years, so while a bigger movie might be tempting, the quality of the script might be the deciding factor. With Whedon on board, that shouldn’t be an issue. Unless her X-future is a long-term sort of gig, she would be a great choice to play a young Babs Gordon.
4. Ashley Greene
While Greene is best known to mainstream audiences as Alice Cullen from The Twilight Saga, Batman fans will know her best as the voice of Barbara Gordon/Oracle in the Arkham video game series. Greene did a fantastic job in the role, providing technical and emotional support to Batman throughout both of her appearances.
The actress made such an impression that fans have stated that they’d like to see her take on a live-action version, and it’s doubtful that Greene would refuse such a call. The 30-year-old has said she loves playing Barbara, and of all the actresses on the list, she easily has the best knowledge of the character right out of the gate.
Like a lot of supporting actors from The Twilight Saga, Greene has had trouble breaking out into other movies, but even in junk like Urge or Burying The Ex, she’s able to inject humor and humanity into her film projects. It would be exciting to see what she could do with the lead in a much bigger (and hopefully, better) movie.
3. Zoe Kravitz
Zoe Kravitz has been popping up in supporting roles in a lot of big movies, including the Divergent movies and Mad Max: Fury Road as Toast The Knowing. She’s no stranger to comic book movies either, having played Angel Salvadore in X-Men: First Class.
Sadly, Angel was one of the more forgettable mutants in that prequel (which was reflected by her being killed off-screen in between films), but Kravitz has continued to impress in other roles. It feels about time for her to step away from supporting parts and take on leading lady status, and her past franchise experiences would make her a good fit for Batgirl.
She’s performed in action intensive movies before; she’s got the charisma to carry it off, and while her height isn’t all that intimidating (she’s 5’2), some intensive training could see her convincingly able to throw a mean punch. She’s also got experience in the Batman playground, having voiced Catwoman for The Lego Batman Movie. Maybe her director there, Chris McKay – who’s currently lined up to direct the Nightwing movie – could put in a good word with Whedon and co.
2. Emma Stone
Long before the announcement of a solo Batgirl adventure, when it came to the question of who could play the character, Emma Stone’s name has been bandied about constantly. It’s easy to see why; she’s proved herself to be one of the best actresses of her generation (she just won an Oscar last month), she has Barbara’s trademark red hair, and she already has comic book movie experience thanks to her work in The Amazing Spider-Man film series.
While she has yet to star in a full-on action role, she proved with the amount of dancing in La-La Land that she has no trouble getting physical for a character. On the flipside, her recent Oscar win means she might be seeking more dramatic material moving forward, and could be wary of committing to a series that will no doubt dominate the next few years of her career.
1. Jane Levy
Jane Levy is best known for putting herself through seven shades of hell for the Evil Dead remake, which was apparently as grueling to make as it was to watch. She also scored an unexpected sleeper hit with 2016’s Don’t Breathe, where her character breaks into the home of a blind man to steal his money and finds all manner of nastiness instead.
Throughout those two movies, Levy has done an admirable job displaying the inner steel of her characters, as well as a willingness to put herself through physical torment for a part. The actress has yet to find a decent blockbuster role either, with Monster Trucks proving that a silly pun can only carry a movie so far.
She’s certainly got the look of the classic Barbara, and she’s clearly not afraid of the challenge that comes with making a physically-demanding movie, so while she’s hardly the biggest name on this list, she feels like a strong choice for it nonetheless.
Who do you think should star in the upcoming Batgirl movie? Let us know in the comments!