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Batgirl directors respond to the movie's surprise cancellation

Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah say that they're "saddened and shocked by the news" in an Instagram post.
Leslie Grace as Batgirl
Warner Bros. Discovery

Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, the directing team behind the now-canceled Batgirl movie, have broken their silence about the project’s unfortunate end, posting a message on Instagram paying tribute to those they worked alongside.

In a message posted on both of their individual accounts, the two shared that they were “saddened and shocked by the news,” adding, “We still can’t believe it. As directors, it is critical that our work be shown to audiences, and while the film was far from finished, we wish that fans all over the world would have had the opportunity to see and embrace the final film themselves. Maybe one day they will Insha’Allah.”

The message continued as the duo said that the “amazing cast and crew did a tremendous job and worked so hard to bring Batgirl to life. We are forever grateful to have been part of that team. It was a dream to work with such fantastic actors like Michael Keaton, JK Simmons, Brendan Fraser, Jacob Scipio, Corey Johnson, Rebecca Front and especially the great Leslie Grace, who portrayed Batgirl with so much passion, dedication and humanity.”

The statement ended with the two writing, “as huge fans of Batman since we were little kids, it was a privilege and an honor to have been a part of the DCEU, even if it was for a brief moment. Batgirl for life.”

Batgirl had been in the works since early last year, with El Arbi and Fallah – who also directed the opening episodes of Disney+’s acclaimed Ms. Marvel series – working from a screenplay written by Birds of Prey’s Christina Hodson.

The movie was midway through post-production when news of its cancellation broke; the decision by Warner Bros. Discovery to shelf the project is officially the result of “our leadership’s strategic shift as it relates to the DC universe and HBO Max,” according to a statement released by the studio on Tuesday. According to sources, WBD is already in discussions with El Arbi and Fallah about potential future projects, also doing the same with Grace, with an intent to reassure talent that the decision was unrelated to the quality of their work.

Outsiders believe that talk of a “strategic shift” in Warner Bros. Discovery leadership as it relates to HBO Max might also be behind the surprise disappearance of a number of movies from the streaming service, with both Batgirl’s cancellation – and that of Scoob: Holiday Haunt, an animated feature mothballed at the same time – and the removal of certain HBO Max titles allowing the company to claim back costs after the fact in an attempt to save money. WBD management has previously claimed that it will attempt to make roughly $3 billion in savings as a result of the April merger between Warner Bros. and Discovery.

For now, all eyes are on what Warner Bros. Discovery does next – something that could be revealed as early as tomorrow, when the company announces its Q2 earnings and announces future plans for the company.


You can read the initial report about Batgirl being shelved here, and keep coming back to Popverse for updates as the story evolves.

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About the Author

Graeme McMillan avatar

Graeme McMillan

Staff Writer

Graeme McMillan (he/him) has been writing about comics, culture, and comics culture on the internet for close to two decades at this point, which is terrifying to admit. His work has appeared in The Hollywood Reporter, Wired, Polygon, Inverse, Time Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times, and he also co-hosts the Wait What podcast three times a month and writes the Comics, FYI newsletter. He completely understands if you have problems understanding his accent.

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