In March 2017, Joss Whedon was brought on to write, direct, and produce a Batgirl movie for Warner Bros. In that same year, he also directed Justice League, Justice League was poorly received, and Wonder Woman surpassed the studio’s expectations to be one of the biggest hits of the year. In February 2018, he exited Batgirl saying he “didn’t have a story.” Some fans were outraged that he could be on the project for so long with no story, but that claim always had a ring of hyperbole to it.
Now Whedon has provided a bit of clarification. On the red carpet yesterday for Avengers: Infinity War, Whedon says he did have a story, but that it became difficult to tell that story with so much changing at the studio in the year he was attached:
— Variety (@Variety) April 24, 2018
“I felt it had been a year since I first pitched a story. A lot happened in that year, and I felt some of the elements might not work as well, and the story just kind of crumbled in my hands because there were elements I just hadn’t mastered, and after a long time I felt like I wasn’t going to. So I told people I didn’t have an idea, which isn’t the exact truth. I had an idea, and it just didn’t fit in the space that was left for it. It was a little heartbreaking because I was so excited about it, but I’m working on something of my own, and there’s nothing more exciting than that.”
I’m inclined to believe Whedon simply because we’ve all seen the upheaval at DC and how they seem to radically change direction. In March 2016, they released the dark-and-gritty Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and just three years later you’ll have the ridiculously upbeat Shazam! hitting theaters. It’s easy to see that the studio was headed in one direction when Whedon pitched his story, and then that story became impossible when the studio changed directions.
As for the current status of Batgirl, the script is being handled by Unforgettable screenwriter Christina Hodson with the current plan to introduce Batgirl into the Harley Quinn spinoff Birds of Prey before giving Batgirl her solo movie.