We're Finally Getting a "Batgirl" Movie

After rebooting "Batman" for the umpteenth time, Hollywood is finally giving us a live-action "Batgirl" movie. Variety reports that Joss Whedon will direct a "stand-alone" Batgirl flick for Warner Brothers, which means…well, it means a lot of things: (1) It's interesting that the man who directed "Avengers" has defected from Marvel to DC; (2) we’re getting another female-led superhero movie in addition to this summer's "Wonder Woman" and the upcoming "Ms. Marvel" (starring Brie Larson); (3) unlike "Wonder Woman," which was directed by Patty Jenkins (first woman to direct a movie with an over–$100 million budget!), this will be a female-led superhero movie directed by a man (was Kathryn Bigelow not available or, like, what happened there?); (4) at least it’s Joss Whedon, who created "Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dollhouse;" (5) it's definitely better than Mel Gibson, who is reportedly in consideration for "Suicide Squad 2;" and (6) in any case, this is probably because "Avengers" did bonkers well, and DC movies, though they make money, kinda struggle to be, well, as good.

Got all that?

The last time a live-action Batgirl (who, for the record, I really think should be called "Batgal," for many reasons) graced our screens was 20 years ago, when she was played by Alicia Silverstone in the, uh, completely nuts movie "Batman & Robin)." In that iteration, Batgirl, a.k.a. Barbara Wilson, was the niece of Bruce Wayne’s butler, Alfred, who, despite Alfred's being British, spoke with an American accent. She arrives halfway through the movie on a motorcycle having run away from boarding school or something. She quickly gets herself a bodysuit, jumps into the action, and flirts real hard with Robin.

I watched that movie possibly one thousand times on VHS, and while I wanted nothing more at that time than to be Alicia-as-Batgirl, she’s probably not the first choice for the role now. So here are a few picks, in no particular order, for who I'd like to see in the mask and cape:

1. Kristen Stewart

This is never going to happen. She's way too cool for a superhero movie, which is exactly why she's perfect! Unlike a sunny "Superman/Captain America" type, "Batgirl" has the freedom to be dark. Stewart has proved she can find real pathos and nuance in her characters in any kind of genre, from deadpan humor in "Adventureland" to epic fantasy in "The Huntsman" to action/comedy in "American Ultra." And if you told me that Stewart actually spends her nights dressed all in black fighting crime…I would believe you. But since this is never in a million years going to happen, we suppose the producers could call Dakota Johnson, and when Dakota says no, Mackenzie Davis, and if Mackenzie says no, Kiernan Shipka.

2. Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Her performances in films like "Miss Sloane," "Beauty and the Beast," and "Concussion" are all good, but for "Batgirl" we'd ask her to bring the rawness she exposed in "Beyond the Lights." She was sexy, dark, subversive, troubled, and totally captivating. And, not to be superficial, but this woman is the most beautiful creature alive and needs to be a household name yesterday. Why does she not have a thousand makeup commercials? Why isn't she on the cover of every magazine? Where's my Raw By Gugu Mbatha-Raw perfume?

3. Camila Mendes

 

I admit that I have not seen "Riverdale" yet, but my coworkers tell me that Mendes, who plays Veronica, is cool and has the confidence to pull Batgirl off. Also, she's just really likeable in this interview.

4. Gina Rodriguez

 

Rodriguez would be the pick for a lighthearted, wholesome version of a "Batgirl" movie, which, knowing DC's and Joss's reputations, isn't about to happen. But if they're looking to reach an audience that might not typically go to "dark" superhero films — say, teen girls and their moms — she could draw them in. She's wonderfully emotional and engaging on "Jane the Virgin," and can we talk about how cute this press tour would be? Rodriguez is a light in dark times. Honestly, no matter whom they pick for Batgirl herself, the producers should send Rodriguez to the talk shows to promote the film.

5. Selena Gomez

If we're talking pop stars we'd like to see as superheroes, the clear winner is Rihanna. But let's be real: Rihanna does not want to be in a franchise. She does not want to be part of the DC Extended Universe. Maybe Gomez would! She looked cool in the "Bad Blood" video, is all I'm saying.

As for the rest of the cast? We don't know yet who the other characters might be since, uh, none of us have read any Batgirl comics, but let me just throw some names at you: Dev Patel, Patricia Arquette, Thandie Newton. Please add them to the ensemble, Mr. Whedon. Thank you.

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