‘Birds of Prey’ Producers Explain Why You Won’t See Batgirl in the Film

     December 9, 2019

batgirl-comic-slice

Harley Quinn is finally getting the girl gang she deserves on the big screen, but in a move that surprised comic fans, it’s not the Gotham City Sirens she’ll be teaming up with in her upcoming movie, it’s the Birds of Prey.

Warner Bros. upcoming Suicide Squad semi-spinoff Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn sees Margot Robbie return as the iconic villain-turned-antihero, and this time she’ll be teaming up with Mary Elizabeth Winstead‘s Huntress, Jurnee Smollett-Bell‘s Black Canary, Rosie Perez‘s Renee Montoya, and Ella Jay Basco‘s Cassandra Cain. But there’s one question folks have been asking since the project was first announced — where the heck is Batgirl?

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Image via DC Comics

In the comics, Batgirl is one of the core figures of the Bird of Prey, along with Huntress and Canary, and Barbara Gordon’s Oracle (formerly Batgirl) was one of the founding heroes. While Barbara Gordon will not be in the film, Cassandra Cain also has a comic history of taking up the Batgirl mantle. While it’s clear that Birds of Prey is reimagining Can’s character to a certain extent (she’s a street kid with a sharp mouth, not a deadly assassin, for one thing), will we get to see Batgirl in the film?

The answer, it seems, is a firm no. When we visited the set of Birds of Prey earlier this year, we joined a small group of journalists to speak with the cast and crew, including producers Sue Kroll and  Bryan Unkeless who said in no uncertain terms Batgirl will not appear in the upcoming film.

“You’ll not see Batgirl,” said Kroll. “Just gonna say ‘No.’” So why not? “This is a studio question,” Kroll said. “That character’s in development on her own film, right?” Indeed, Warner Bros. has been developing a Batgirl movie since 2017, when Joss Whedon was attached to write and direct. Whedon has since dropped off the project and Birds of Prey screenwriter Christina Hodson was recruited to take over on the script.

Unkeless added, “But a lot of it also has just originated from Margot and Christina kind of having this fun, open canvas or being attracted to the characters. So there certainly are some of those studio primers, but this, by and large, is, ‘This character’s awesome!’ You know? And Christina and Margot would get excited about these characters and it led us to the people we have on this wall.”

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Image via Warner Bros.

During a break in filming Robbie stopped by for a chat and also spoke about the process of assembling her girl gang — Robbie not only stars, she’s also producing and initially pitched the idea for the movie to Warner Bros. during Suicide Squad.

“Yeah, it’s an eclectic group, which I love – that everyone has a distinct and different personality, and is coming from a different angle,” Robbie said. You got Renee, whose set of morals… her moral compass points a very different way to Harley’s and Canary’s. Everyone’s kind of got their own rule of ethics that they abide by, and they kind of conflict with each other, which I think is always interesting in an ensemble.”

Birds of Prey arrives in theaters on February 6, 2020.

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