For the past year, Joss Whedon has been working on Batgirl. He was hired by DC/Warner Bros. to write and direct the film, a fit that for some seemed natural given Whedon’s history with women-led action and sci-fi stories (Buffy chief among his credits).
But as it happens, Whedon spent the past year not writing, and today, it was announced that he would be leaving the project. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Whedon had this to say:
“Batgirl is such an exciting project, and Warners/DC such collaborative and supportive partners, that it took me months to realize I really didn’t have a story,” Whedon told The Hollywood Reporter in a statement. Referring to DC president Geoff Johns and Warners Picture Group president Toby Emmerich, Whedon added, “I’m grateful to Geoff and Toby and everyone who was so welcoming when I arrived, and so understanding when I… uh, is there a sexier word for ‘failed’?”
Not having a story is certainly a good reason to exit the project, and it’s quite a luxury to get a year to realize that you don’t have a story to tell. Still, it’s hard to imagine there weren’t at least some other motivation behind the change.
Two possible reasons:
1: With every new film, the DC Cinematic Universe is becoming a less-appealing creative playground.
2: Whedon, no longer the feminist icon of yore, doesn’t want to be the man that makes a bad Batgirl.
My money is on the latter.
–Christopher Zumski Finke