Joss Whedon has left Gotham City limits. The director of 2012’s The Avengers and creator of TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer has left work on Batgirl for DC and Warner Bros. In a statement admitting that he “failed” after a year of trying, Whedon says he couldn’t crack a story for the DC heroine.
On Thursday, Whedon told The Hollywood Reporter that he has officially left the tentative Batgirl film. “Batgirl is such an exciting project, and Warners/DC such collaborative and supportive partners, that it took me months to realize I really didn’t have a story,” Whedon said.
In expressing gratitude to DC president Geoff Johns and Warner Bros. Pictures Group president Toby Emmerich, Whedon said: “I’m grateful to Geoff and Toby and everyone who was so welcoming when I arrived, and so understanding when I…uh, is there a sexier word for ‘failed?’”
Whedon, who also created the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and directed the Marvel mega hit The Avengers in 2012, signed on to Batgirl in March 2017. It was a little later when Zack Snyder had exited Justice League due to a family matter, and Whedon — who performed extensive script re-writes — took over the film’s reshoots and oversaw post-production.
While Whedon says he couldn’t map out a story, The Hollywood Reporter adds from sources that Whedon, a white male director, was felt by some as not the right person to helm a female superhero movie such as Batgirl. Months after Whedon signed on, in June 2017, the Patty Jenkins-directed Wonder Woman became a box office juggernaut.
With Whedon out of the picture, it is unknown if Warner Bros. will pursue the project further. Given the success of last year’s Wonder Woman, there is absolutely a demand for female superhero movies, but perhaps a female director would be a better choice than the guy who killed Kitty Pryde. Whedon also wrote Astonishing X-Men for Marvel, and some people are still bitter.