Ms. Marvel Directors Tease ‘Darker’ Tone for Batgirl Film

The directing duo of Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah have been making quite the names for themselves in Hollywood over the last few years. The pair took the reins of the Bad Boys franchise in 2020 with the threequel Bad Boys for Life, which made more than $400 million at the worldwide box office. From there, Arbi and Fallah stepped into the MCU to direct the first and final episodes of Ms. Marvel, showcasing a distinct visual flair and bright, poppy sensibility that made viewers fall in love with the world of Kamala Khan. Arbi and Fallah’s next project won’t be quite as sunny as Ms. Marvel, as they will be heading to Gotham City in a Batgirl film for HBO Max.

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Leslie Grace is taking on the role of Barbara Gordon in the first-ever film that will be specifically focused on Batgirl. The character has appeared in numerous DC animated films, and was portrayed by Alicia Silverstone in 1997’s Batman & Robin, but Grace is getting a chance to dive deep into the dichotomy between Barbara and Batgirl. When speaking to Slash Film about the project, Arbi said that while there are some similarities between Batgirl and Ms. Marvel, the former is going to lean away from the brighter aspects of the latter:

“Well, the thing is that it’s also an origin story, but obviously, Batgirl is in Gotham City, so it’s going to be much darker than Ms. Marvel, and our main character is older. I mean, she’s not a teenager, she already has a job. But I think that we’re still going to try to have the same visual vibrancy that is our trademark, you could say, and homages to the comic book, homages also to the animated series of Batman, and the Tim Burton movies. So that’s what we’re trying to do with that, but obviously, it’s going to be a bit darker than Ms. Marvel’s world.”

Batgirl Will See Michael Keaton’s Return as the Dark Knight

Warner Bros Pictures

Batgirl is not only set to feature Barbara Gordon donning her iconic cowl, but the return of Michael Keaton as the Caped Crusader. Keaton will also be back as Batman in The Flash, which was originally set to premiere before Batgirl until it was pushed to June 2023. After reinventing the Dark Knight with Tim Burton in 1989’s Batman and its sequel Batman Returns, Keaton stayed away from Bruce Wayne for nearly 30 years. The actor dipped his toe back into the comic book world in 2017 with Spider-Man: Homecoming, which may have opened the door to making a return to Gotham City. Keaton is expected to be a mentor to Barbara Gordon in Batgirl, which opens up an entirely new set of questions as far as how the film fits into the wider DCEU continuity.

While it doesn’t have a specific release date set, Batgirl is expected to be coming straight to HBO Max by the end of 2022. A report earlier this year claimed Warner Bros. Discovery was considering shifting Batgirl’s release from streaming to theatrical, which could happen given that it doesn’t have a clear HBO Max premiere as of yet. Since the back half of the year includes such DC releases as Black Adam and Shazam! Fury of the Gods, Warner Bros. may want to continue building momentum for its superhero properties by putting Batgirl in theaters. Hopefully, the release strategy for Batgirl will become clear in the coming months, and audiences will get to return to Gotham City before the year comes to a close.