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‘Batgirl’ Directors Say They Can’t Even Access Their Footage Anymore

Will Batgirl escape the clutches of the Warner Bros. vault? Tune in to find out!

Leslie Grace as Batgirl in HBO Max's 'Batgirl'.

Just when you think this Warner Bros/HBO/Discovery mess can’t get any worse, we find out more info to prove us wrong. To catch you up to speed: there was the unprecedented shelving of the already-filed Batgirl, the deletion and canceling of scores of animation and other shows from HBO Max, and some unsettling firings and goings-on at CNN. And that’s just the news from recent weeks.

As reported by Yahoo! Entertainment, in an interview with SKRIPT, Batgirl directors Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah talked about the shock at finding out their movie was scrapped and the mixed feelings that came with the outpouring of support over social media from fans and fellow directors like James Gunn and Edgar Wright.

When asked by SKRIPT if they still have some footage, the directors confirmed that they no longer have access to any aspect of the movie.

Fallah and El Arbi: “No, we have nothing.”

Bilall Fallah: “Adil called me and said, ‘Go ahead, shoot some things on your mobile.’ I went on the server and everything was blocked.” 

El Arbi: “We were like ‘Fking s*!’ All the scenes, we did not keep with Batman in it!'”

BATGIRL – Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah évoquent leur choc ! (EXCLU) – YouTube

The shelving of the Batgirl movie seems eerily similar to other superhero films that were almost killed by studio interference. It took Deadpool test footage leaking to get Fox to commit to making a real Deadpool film (the leaked footage of which turned into the start of the movie almost as a thank you to the fans who called for the movie to be made). Of course, in terms of Batgirl, the movie was already made and in post-production, and it appears to have been callously sacrificed as a tax write-off against the merger costs. It seems like there’s an active effort made to keep Batgirl from leaking in any way and increasing calls for it to be released. It’s telling that El Arbi mentions scenes “with Batman in it,” which no doubt would have further excited the fanbase. Original movie Batman Michael Keaton had returned to reprise the role for Batgirl, and it feels shocking to imagine we might never see those scenes, or that they may be repurposed elsewhere by the studio.

Directors Fallah and El Arbi also cited the Snyder Cut controversy that plagued DC for years after Snyder was forced to take a leave of absence from the Justice League movie and the studio replaced him with Joss Whedon. They mentioned that they would be open to having the film premiere in any capacity, like how the Snyder Cut went from being an IMAX exclusive to an HBO exclusive. Though they also conceded that the SFX are incomplete, and some scenes hadn’t been filmed yet, and they would require funds to finish the movie.

However, it seems that Warner Bros. may have learned the wrong lessons from these other movies. Where Snyder’s access to Justice League footage eventually allowed him to make a rough cut of his movie to show the studio and greenlight his cut, the studio has prevented Fallah and El Arbi from accessing any amount of footage, possibly in the hopes that they can sweep Batgirl under the rug like it never even happened.

In any case, this is another demonstration of the issues inherent in movie studios: at the end of the day, they are a business and will prioritize financial success over the creation of art and entertainment. The Warner Bros. Discovery debacle just drives this home in a stark and unmissable way.

(via Yahoo! Entertainment, image: Warner Bros.)

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Kimberly Terasaki is a contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She has been writing articles for them since 2018, going on 5 years of working with this amazing team. Her interests include Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Horror, intersectional feminism, and fanfiction; some are interests she has held for decades, while others are more recent hobbies. She liked Ahsoka Tano before it was cool, will fight you about Rey being a “Mary Sue,” and is a Kamala Khan stan.