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Arts and Entertainment

Joss Whedon Reportedly Set To Write And Direct Batgirl Movie

Batgirl. (Courtesy of DC Comics)
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Joss Whedon is nearing a deal to write, direct, and produce a Batgirl movie for Warner Bros., reports Variety. The details are scant at the moment, but Variety says it'll be a standalone film, meaning it'll be Batgirl's own flick, and not some cobbled mess of superheroes à la Suicide Squad.

A couple things of note if the deal does come through. This marks a jumping of ship for Whedon, who'd cozied up with the Marvel Comics universe by directing The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Though, as we'd seen with J.J. Abrams' involvement in both the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises, the matter of fandom allegiance is something people can overlook.

Another thing: the handling of the original Batgirl (a.k.a Barbara Gordon) has been...troubling, to say the least. There was the issue involving Batman: The Killing Joke, the 1988 graphic novel in which (spoiler alert!) Gordon is viciously shot by the Joker; some readers maintain that the incident served as nothing more than a plot device that throws the focus back to Batman, the Joker, and Commissioner James Gordon (i.e. three dudes).

Alan Moore, who wrote The Killing Joke as well as classics such as Watchmen, said in 2006 that he'd regretted writing the scene, according to Movie Pilot:

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I asked DC if they had any problem with me crippling Barbara Gordon — who was Batgirl at the time — and if I remember, I spoke to Len Wein, who was our editor on the project ... [He] said, 'Yeah, okay, cripple the bitch.' It was probably one of the areas where they should've reined me in, but they didn't.

He'd also called The Killing Joke "the work of mine that I'm least fond of because there's a lot of nasty things that happen in that."

An opportunity to re-write The Killing Joke came up recently, when the novel was re-worked as an animated film. Producers had promised to bring Batgirl to the forefront, instead of relegating her to a side role. "[We] took that opportunity to basically tell a Batgirl story, which we don't often get a chance to do these days. And it was great, because we could spend more time with her as a character and get to understand what she's all about and how she's similar to Batman in some ways," producer Bruce Timm told Empire.

The result, however, was widely lambasted by fans, as much of the added Batgirl material basically (spoiler alert!) centered on her sexual attraction to Batman. There's even (another alert!) a fairly suggestive/graphic sex scene between the two.

So, in summary, there is a whole history of how not to write Batgirl, and we'd like to believe that Whedon will take heed of it. It's worth mentioning that Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which launched Whedon into the stratosphere, is regarded as a "subversive" feminist work.

At any rate, people on social media think Whedon could knock it out of the park:

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