Just how important is Joss Whedon to the future of the DC Extended Universe? Right now, all attention is fixed on Justice League — described by Ben Affleck as "an interesting product of two directors." But we've just learned another intriguing change that Joss Whedon has made to the DC slate. You see, it turns out that the eagerly-anticipated Batgirl movie wouldn't be happening without Whedon...
Here's How It Happened
Ben Affleck's #Batman was one of the most critically-praised aspects of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and in the wake of that success, we've seen the #DCEU become increasingly bat-shaped. Affleck wound up playing a minor role in Suicide Squad, giving his rogues' gallery center-stage in the ensemble film, and Warner Bros. wasted no time signing off on other projects that explore the Bat-mythos. Although it's hard to know for sure what movies are actually in the works, so far we've heard reports about Nightwing, Suicide Squad 2, a Joker/Harley Quinn film, and — of course — Joss Whedon's Batgirl.
The studio's been actively encouraging pitches from directors around town, including James Wan and Robert Zemeckis who headed to Burbank to outline their ideas. According to Variety, though, Warner Bros. hadn't even considered a Batgirl movie until they heard of Whedon's love for the character. As Whedon told Entertainment Weekly:
"We weren’t even talking about Batgirl – it came up as part of another conversation and then we all got so excited that the movie suddenly appeared. So that’s a really good sign to me. It wasn’t a slot they were trying to fill. We all just started talking about her and then I couldn’t stop. So, that’s a good feeling."
According to DC Film's Jon Berg, the character's name was jotted down on a "master board" of characters and concepts. Whedon walked past, looked up at the master board, and was thrilled at the possibility of a Batgirl film.
And the rest is history. Whedon's become increasingly involved in shaping the future of the DCEU, taking over Justice League when Zack Snyder had to step back following a family tragedy. After playing a key role as one of the architects of the MCU — crafting 2012's The Avengers — Whedon has now become crucial to another superhero universe. What's more, he's even playing this role with Marvel's blessing; Whedon famously got in touch with Marvel's Kevin Feige to let him know the Batgirl film was in the works. Feige, clearly moved by his professional courtesy, commented:
"He called a couple months ago, which he didn't have to do and was super cool of him and super nice of him. And we couldn't be more supportive. We want to see a Joss Whedon Batgirl film be awesome."
Joss Whedon arguably has a strong history with female characters, cutting his teeth on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, who in turn was inspired by the X-Men's Kitty Pryde! Most fans are expecting the Batgirl film to folllow in the footsteps of Hope Larson's 'Batgirl of Burnside' run, a culturally relevant teen-centered series that featured a lot of homages to Buffy. At the same time, though, Whedon's reputation has taken a few blows over the last couple of months; personal issues have cast a disturbing light on his history of feminism, while fans reacted with outrage to a leaked Wonder Woman script.
Still, the fact remains: without #JossWhedon, we wouldn't even be getting a #Batgirl movie. Now we understand just why this announcement was such a shock; the film wasn't even on Warner's radar until Joss Whedon made his pitch. With any luck, we're about to see Whedon demonstrate the skill and craft that made Buffy the Vampire Slayer a phenomenal success, and we'll be left celebrating Warner's wisdom in signing up the man who made The Avengers.