By now, everyone has just begun to catch their breath from the news that the #DCEU will introduced #Batgirl to its repertoire of upcoming films, and it will be a standalone film no less. Per an exclusive by Variety, none other than #JossWhedon will write, direct, and produce the untitled film for Warner Bros.
This is huge news, not only for having a very popular comic book character finally getting her overdue film, but for what it represents in terms of the direction of the DCEU and its pattern of movies showing a different side of the world through the eyes of these characters that, in a way, appear to be around for a while now.
Yes, the #JusticeLeague looks like the knee-jerk response to Marvel's The Avengers, but looking at the bigger picture, that was Marvel's end game from the very beginning: interconnected films that reached a conclusion. With DC, is more about a world that has somehow forgotten its heroes and villains, and little by little they have reemerged due to the natural evolution of the world. Which begs the question: are they a product of the world they live in? Or is this world a product of the actions of women and men like them?
With Batgirl, we have the golden opportunity to see different sides of this universe and to do that, Barbara Gordon is the answer.
Barbara Gordon is a great character because of her evolution through the years. She has been a daughter, a sidekick, an ally and a fundamental piece of the so called Bat Family. Recently, more and more stories have been focusing on her life as an independent woman and crime fighter, dealing with maturity and the search for her own identity making her a modern cultural icon and role model, establishing the blueprint for how a female superhero should be treated. Barbara wearing the Bat symbol on her chest means more about her desire for justice and crime fighting rather than her wanting to be Batman. After all, #Batman is a symbol and Barbara embraces everything that it represents. This self-awareness makes her stand out over the rest of the Bat Family who, in one way or another, the symbol still weighs heavy on all of them, but not Barbara.
She is an important character and that would be the main reason Warner Bros. went for Joss Whedon. His work in Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a game changer at the time, since he gave us a heroine for a new generation. Perhaps will see that with Batgirl.
How would a Batgirl film look like?
If you ask me, the answer is a simple one but a little bit elaborated. The movie should be an auto biography of sorts: starting at a young age dealing with being Barbara Gordon, then teens and adulthood as Batgirl and ending with today's DCEU version of Oracle. Almost like a day in the life of Barbara Gordon.
Everyone has started to fan-cast Batgirl, and I will do the same, but with a little twist.
Barbara Gordon should be played by not one but three actresses.
This way it could cover most, if not all, aspects of what makes Batgirl such an important character in comic book lore. We need to see her struggles, her triumphs, her human side as well as her super hero persona.
Without further ado, here are my three choices to make one hell of a Barbara Gordon and the ultimate representation of the character.
Barbara Gordon - Sophia Lillis
Credits: A Midsummer Night's Dream (2014), 37 (2016), It (2017)
Wouldn't be great to see Barbara Gordon forging her strong character and will from early age? As a tomboy, daughter of a police officer in a city full of danger and weirdos but still feeling like an outcast. Knowing the Barbara Gordon as a blank slate and full of potential but not knowing where to go. Having a young Barbara Gordon as a vehicle for younger audiences to relate to. In a time when bullying and low self-esteem spread like wild fire, having characters like Barbara Gordon are always welcome. Young audiences could have someone to look up to and say: "She is like me"
Sophia Lillis is an up-and-coming talent that has a curious presence similar to Jody Foster or Dakota Fanning. Known for portraying strong willed but naive characters, Sophia could provide that fresh and tough demeanor for a modern Barbara Gordon. She will play the part of Beverly Marsh in the film #It and, if it stays true to the source material, her character will deal with issues of physical, mental and sexual abuse.
Batgirl - Jane Levy
Credits: Shameless (TV Series 2011), Evil Dead (2013), Don't Breathe (2016)
This is the stage that defines Barbara Gordon. The crime fighter, the independent woman trying to improve all aspects of her life, basically the modern woman. The struggles of fighting not only crime and injustice on the streets, but also the battle against the modern world that doesn't care about her ideals. Showing her as someone constantly fighting in and out of the cape and cowl would be a real treat. Showing her bad-ass alter ego but still dealing with insecurity and vulnerabilities. How many times we tell ourselves we are stronger than we appear, but deep inside we doubt ourselves? This could be the side Barbara we could see at this point in her life.
Jane Levy is a certified bad-ass with films like #EvildDead and #DontBreathe, where she emerges as the last woman standing but had to go through literally hell to get to the other side. The interesting part is that her characters experience lots of traumatic events throughout the events of the movie and it's always implied at the end of the film that she will have to deal with the consequences sooner or later. This could prove priceless in portraying Barbara Gordon since, after having her infamous run-in with the Joker, she ends up physically and mentally scarred leaving her dealing with massive PTSD. This side of Barbara Gordon would be the key in this adaptation of the character. Someone as tough as Barbara, feeling more vulnerable than ever is the worst feeling for a character such as her.
Oracle - Cassidy Freeman
Credits: Smallville (TV Series 2008-2011), The Vampire Diaries (TV Series - 2012), Longmire (TV Series 2012-2016)
Oracle is one of the most important characters not only in Batman lore, but in all #DC. And if it the pattern remains consistent within the DCEU movies, Oracle should be the version we should see after the events that will unfold during the Justice League.
I won't deny the controversy that Oracle has been part of throughout the years with arguments for and against her disability. Some argue that Oracle gives a voice to people that feel different and seeing coping with the disadvantage could prove very empowering. Others argue that this diminish her true potential and victimizes her not only as a woman but as a person as a whole. Regardless of the argument, Barbara proves with this type of discussion that she is indeed a vital and relevant character that needs to be handle with respect.
The DCEU is already toying with the idea of introducing a #Nightwing film as well, so it would be really interesting having all these characters already mature enough doing their own thing, explaining why Batman became the bitter and brutal vigilante we have seen so far with Ben Affleck's portrayal of the Caped Crusader. She could be our window on the why they all grew apart in the first place. Batman's outlook seems to have been shifted to a new direction after meeting Superman and it would be really interesting to see the reaction of the rest of the Bat Family to these events, starting with Barbara Gordon.
Cassidy Freeman is an actress better known for her television roles, but most of these show how good she is as a tougher-than-nails type of woman. As the aggressive and cold Sage in #TheVampireDiaries, Cassidy shows how a very dark character can still feel and love or as the brutal but relentless Tess Mercer (Lutessa Luthor) in #Smallville, who is not afraid of going toe-to-toe against someone like Clark or Lex. And finally, the closest we have a Barbara Gordon type of character in her portrayal of attorney Cady #Longmire in the show Longmire. She plays as the only child of Sheriff Walt Longmire.
Oracle could provide us with a unique perspective into her growth as both woman and super hero, and she could guide us through all these stages of her life.
Batgirl has so many great stories, but the story I am more interested in, is her own.