The latest rumors suggest that Batgirl won't actually appear in Cathy Yan's Birds of Prey movie - but that her alter-ego Barbara Gordon will do so after all. It's the latest hint that the film will be true to the original comics, which were set after Barbara was crippled in The Killing Joke.
It's looking as though Birds of Prey may be the next DC superhero movie to release after 2019's Wonder Woman 1984. Margot Robbie recently confirmed reports that filming will begin in January next year, and that it will be a low-budget, R-rated film with a very different tone and style to the rest of the DCEU to date. Little is currently known about the movie, but there are persistent rumors that Black Canary and Huntress are part of the team.
Although initial reports had implied Batgirl would be in the film too, journalist Umberto Gonzalez has taken to Twitter to insist she isn't after all. "Was decided recently no Batgirl," he added in a second tweet. "Attention to detail, I didn't say Barbara Gordon, I said Batgirl." The clear implication is that Barbara Gordon will indeed appear, but in her other superhero identity - Oracle, the computer hacker who served as a friend and ally to the other members of the Birds of Prey in the comics. It looks as though this really will be a comic-book-accurate adaptation.
The future of the DCEU is gradually taking shape, if only because Warner Bros. is being forced to choose one concept over and above another. In this case, if this report is accurate then the studio is committing to developing Barbara Gordon as a crippled character in an R-rated superhero film. Barring an "Elseworlds"-esque concept, that pretty much rules out a lighthearted Batgirl movie inspired by Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, and Babs Tarr's popular "Batgirl of Burnside" arc. That's particularly surprising given that, back in April, Warner Bros. recruited Bumblebee writer Christina Hodson to work on the script. It may be plans have changed at speed, and Batgirl has now been ditched altogether. Hopefully the situation will be clarified at San Diego Comic-Con. While Warner Bros.' Hall H panel is expected to focus on Aquaman and Shazam!, the recent flurry of Birds of Prey news surely suggests there'll be an announcement of some kind.
It's also interesting to speculate what this would mean for the plot of Birds of Prey. If the Joker has indeed crippled the DCEU's Barbara Gordon, then the heroes surely wouldn't take well to an encounter with Harley Quinn. The stakes could be very personal indeed for this movie.
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020