Joss Whedon is writing and directing a Batgirl movie for DC. Find out more about what we can expect from the character, and what his (early) thoughts are on casting.
After making two Avengers movies for Marvel, Joss Whedon could resist the DC ‘verse no longer. As we reported last month, the Buffy creator will be both writing and directing a movie about Batgirl, one of DC’s most prominent female superheroes.
It’s early days yet on the project, but The Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision managed to get some comments from him about what drew him to Batgirl, and how he’s been approaching the character.
“She came up, and I started getting obsessed with how a young woman could get hardcore enough to need to put on the cowl. Like, what’s her damage? She didn’t have her parents killed in an alley. Who is this person, who decides — rather than being forced to by their childhood trauma — decides to pick up this life? How intense and driven that person is … I just couldn’t stop thinking about it.”
Some fans have been quick to jump on Whedon for his use of the word ‘damage,’ assuming that Whedon is alluding to Batgirl being driven by a sexual trauma (despite him indicating no such thing).
Considering that literally every single superhero has some kind of ‘damage’ in their past (that’s usually where the dramatic tension comes from), it would of course be unrealistic to expect that any superhero protagonist, especially in the ‘gritty’ DC universe, should be devoid of a dark backstory. Exploring a character’s damage and drive is what we call a ‘story,’ regardless of the protagonist’s gender.
Personally, I hope Whedon’s Batgirl will be more along the lines of Wonder Woman — trained from birth and motivated by a responsibility to do good — than Jessica Jones, the female superhero actually motivated by severely uncomfortable sexual trauma, who just happens to be a Marvel property.
Or, Whedon could avoid all stereotypes and have Batgirl simply be motivated by the state of the society, an idealistic young woman who wants to make the world a better place. If the movie-Batgirl turns out to be Barb Gordon, they might even infuse some elements of a noir detective story, which would help differentiate her from other DC movie characters.
However the story goes, it’ll be interesting to see how Whedon draws out the character’s motivation, considering that — as he said — Batgirl isn’t like Batman in that a past trauma has forced her into the hero role. Clearly, she’s fighting for something, like all heroes are, and we can’t wait to find out what it is.
As for casting, there have been plenty of fan suggestions already, but Joss Whedon seems like he’s hoping to cast a relative unknown in the role.
“I doubt it’ll be a name,” he tells Collider. “I think this is somewhere where you go and find Batgirl and then you cast her […] I mean, I’m not against movie stars, they’re great, but you need somebody who is just right. and a situation with this, the name carries a lot of weight so it’s not as critical.”
(My personal hope is still The 100‘s Lindsey Morgan, so if you’re listening, Joss Whedon…)