Joss Whedon was going to adapt The Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl! story arc for his Batgirl movie. Whedon hopped on over to the unofficially titled DCEU last year after spending the last few years shepherding Marvel’s shared universe. While Whedon was only supposed to be writing and directing Warner Bros.’ Batgirl movie, Zack Snyder’s sudden departure from Justice League during post-production had him take on a larger role within the DCEU, helming the infamous Justice League reshoots.
Unfortunately, Whedon’s last-minute contributions to Justice League were universally condemned by critics and audiences alike, thus leaving a bad taste in fans’ mouths over his Batgirl film. Still, despite rumors that he had been fired, he continued to work on DC’s Batgirl. But it seems his efforts were all for naught, seeing as Whedon is no longer attached to direct Batgirl. According to the filmmaker, he just couldn’t get a script that he was satisfied with. While some fans clearly approve of Whedon’s departure, others may wonder what his initial plans were for the film. Of course, his exact story plans may never be revealed, but at least fans will know which comic book issue he was adapting.
Variety reports that Joss Whedon was planning on adapting The Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl! for his Batgirl movie. That was the title of Detective Comics Vol. 1 #359 – the first comic issue in which Barbara Gordon made her debut as Batgirl. It first released in 1967 and followed Batgirl as she aided Batman and Robin in taking down Killer-Moth and his Moth-Men.
Nowadays, Hollywood studios are playing fast and loose with iconic comic book story arcs (see: X-Men: Apocalypse and Captain America: Civil War). So, even though Whedon planned on adapting Batgirl’s first comic issue, it’s unclear if it would’ve been a direct adaptation. Sure, most blockbuster movies retain the source materials’ fundamental concepts, but they are never direct adaptations. Instead, filmmakers tend to see them as mutable guidelines. That’s not necessarily a bad thing since adapting stories literatim would remove a filmmaker’s creative freedom – and that can be detrimental to a movie. After all, not all comic book stories can be easily told on the big screen without making at least a few alterations.
It seems that Whedon just couldn’t figure out how to adapt The Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl! in a way that worked well within the scope of the DCEU. With his departure, Batgirl may be put on the backburner, but doing so would directly contradict recent reports that suggested Flashpoint and Batgirl are next on DC’s docket to enter production after Wonder Woman 2 gets underway this summer. Right now, Warner Bros. wants a female direct for Batgirl, so we’ll just have to wait and see who they choose.
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