Joss Whedon to Direct Standalone Batgirl Movie! Here Are My Very Mixed Feelings

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If there’s one area in which Warner Bros./DC Entertainment seems to be besting Marvel Entertainment it’s in putting its solo female heroes front and center in their cinematic universe. Sure, Marvel has finally gotten around to a Captain Marvel movie, but DC has Wonder Woman coming out this summer, and a Batgirl movie currently in development, with a director who knows a thing or two about female, teen heroes. Joss Whedon is set to direct Barbara Gordon’s first solo feature.

Variety reports that the project originated in the past month, and that so far Whedon is the only major piece of the puzzle they’ve acquired as the film’s writer, director, and producer. No other producers are on the project yet, though Toby Emmerich, president and CCO of Warner Bros. Pictures Group will be overseeing with Jon Berg and Geoff Johns.

Here are some thoughts I have about this in no particular order:

  • [Insert frustration that Warner Bros. didn’t give this to a female writer/director here] Seriously, though, what does a female writer/director have to do to GET A JOB AROUND HERE?! I know, I know. It’s Joss Whedon. Whatever. Put your feminism where your mouth is, dude. Be an executive producer on this and help find an amazing woman to write and direct. Use your clout for good. Not that female directors should only direct projects with female protagonists, of course, but it should be a given at this point that female directors should be considered first when it comes to films about women and girls. The fact that this is so NOT a given is heartbreaking and infuriating.
  • Speaking of feminism: I know that Joss Whedon tries very hard to be a feminist ally. I also know that many of his attempts, while successful in some areas, are riddled with sexist missteps in others. First, there’s the feminism of his actual projects, then there’s the feminism he espouses in his day-to-day life*, which he sometimes has a hard time learning from if a misstep is brought to his attention. He really, really, really needs to get some female producers on board here. Women who will call him on his shit and to whom he will listen. (PS – I’m totally available, Joss.) If he (and Warner Bros.) are going to insist that this particular cis-het white dude is going to write and direct Batgirl, they should at the very least place voices around him that will ensure a certain level of integrity and quality with regard to the film’s gender representation.
  • That said, I’m also excited about this. I’ve been a fan of Whedon’s for a long time now, missteps and all. Whedon has done awesome stuff for Marvel characters, and I’m looking forward to his take on Batgirl. I’m hoping that he’ll bring some lightheartedness into the DCU, and I’m really hoping that he steers clear of any Killing Joke anything, and instead maybe finds inspiration in the more recent version of Batgirl. I wanna see Whedon’s take on Batgirl of Burnside.
  • I also hope that he’s become/becoming more educated about trans people if that’s the case, as I’d love to see a character like Alysia Yeoh (trans girl of color) on screen, not a Dagger Type, and I’d want that to be written by someone who knows exactly why saying that writing strong female characters amounts to not giving them “peeny/balls” is an insensitive mistake.

What do you hope for the Batgirl movie? Tell us your thoughts below!

*I wrote this back when I thought I was straight. So cute.

(image via DC Comics)

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Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.