Batgirl directors call film’s shock scrapping the ‘biggest disappointment’ of their careers

Batgirl filmmakers speak out about controversial cancellation.

Over a year after DC Studios and Warner Bros controversially pulled the plug on Batgirl after filming had already wrapped, directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah have called the decision the “biggest disappointment of [their] careers”.

In August 2022, DC Studios sparked outrage from fans after shelving the highly-anticipated Batgirl movie, starring Afro-Latina actor Leslie Grace as the titular character and Ivory Aquino as DC’s first out trans character, Alysia Yeoh.

The big-budget film was already in post-production and set to air on Max but DC bosses cited a “strategic shift” as the reason it got spiked. Cast members including Grace and Brendan Fraser (The Whale) who was set to play supervillain Firefly shared their heartbreak over the decision. Aquino also released a “heartfelt” tribute.

In an interview with Insider on Monday (11 September), filmmakers El Arbi and Fallah opened up about the fallout from Batgirl’s cancellation, their opinion on DC’s recent film The Flash starring Ezra Miller, and their dream to return to the DC universe.

Batgirl filmmakers Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah.
Batgirl filmmakers Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah. (Getty)

“We didn’t get the chance to show Batgirl to the world and let the audience judge for themselves,” El Arbi said. “Because the audience really is our ultimate boss and should be the deciders of if something is good or bad, or if something should be seen or not.”

Despite fans’ enthusiasm to save the superhero film, DC and Warner Bros doubled down on their decision in February this year by calling it a “very bold and courageous decision” as the film was simply “not releasable”, according to DC Studios CEO Peter Safran.

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Fans labelled the studios out as “misogynistic” and compared Batgirl‘s treatment to The Flash starring non-binary actor Ezra Miller. In 2022, Miller faced a string of accusations including harassment, disorderly conduct and grooming.

After taking a step back from the spotlight to focus on their mental health, DC Studios heavily promoted their superhero feature The Flash, which eventually landed in theatres in June.

El Arbi and Fallah said they were sad to see Michael Keaton briefly reprise his role as Batman in The Flash, having planned for a cameo to take place in Batgirl.

“We watched it and we were sad,” El Arbi continued. “We love director Andy Muschietti and his sister Barbara, who produced the movie. But when we watched it, we felt we could have been part of the whole thing.” He also compared Batgirl to Tim Burton’s Gotham City.

“It’s the biggest disappointment of our careers,” El Arbi added. His sentiment was echoed by Fallah who admitted that “there’s still a feeling of unfinished business”.

“Our love for DC, Batman, Batgirl, Gotham City, it’s so big that, as fans, we could never say no to another project,” El Arbi concluded. “If we got another chance to be part of it, we’d do it. We didn’t get our day in court. We still want to make our case.”

The filmmaking duo have no current plans in the pipeline to return to the DC Universe.