Batgirl directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah say the canceled DC Extended Universe film would have been similar in tone to Tim Burton‘s Batman — and they’re disappointed audiences won’t get to judge it for themselves.
During an interview with Insider, the filmmaking duo recalled feeling melancholic while watching Andy Muschietti‘s DCEU film The Flash. “We watched it and we were sad … We love director Andy Muschietti and his sister Barbara, who produced the movie. But when we watched it, we felt we could have been part of the whole thing,” El Arbi said.
“We didn’t get the chance to show Batgirl to the world and let the audience judge for themselves,” he continued. “Because the audience really is our ultimate boss and should be the deciders of if something is good or bad, or if something should be seen or not.” El Arbi added that Batgirl was “very different than The Flash.” “That has a big fantasy component, ours was more grounded,” he said. “More like Tim Burton’s Gotham City.”
Batgirl’s directors talk working with Michael Keaton – and unfinished business
Like The Flash, Batgirl would have seen Michael Keaton reprise his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman from Burton’s DC films. “I felt like a kid on set working with Keaton,” Fallah said. “I totally forgot that I was directing.”
Starring Leslie Grace in the title role, Batgirl was supposed to be a part of the DCEU, and would have released exclusively on Max (formerly known as HBO Max). However, Warner Bros. Discovery infamously scrapped the nearly-finished film as part of its high-profile content purge last year. According to El Arbi, Keaton was one of several cast members to reach out after the movie was canceled. “He was sad but he also said he had fun,” the director recalled.
El Arbi went on to call Batgirl’s cancellation “the biggest disappointment of our careers.” “As a fanboy, just to be in the presence of Keaton as Batman, that’s just a privilege and an honor. But it’s a bittersweet feeling,” he said. Nevertheless, he and Fallah would happily return to the DC fold if they were ever asked to. “There’s still a feeling of unfinished business,” Fallah said.
“Our love for DC, Batman, Batgirl, Gotham City, it’s so big that, as fans, we could never say no to another project,” El Arbi concluded. “If we got another chance to be part of it, we’d do it. We didn’t get our day in court. We still want to make our case.”