Joss and Barbara: A Match Made in Heaven
“I have to find another path. Divine my own future. One uniquely mine.
Not a page from someone else's book. Not a fate that begins and ends on page one."
Sounds kinda familiar, right?
Ok, how about I tell you this quote comes from a young woman of extraordinary skill and bravery, a young woman trying to carve a place for herself in a world that doesn’t always want her, rarely appreciates her – and yet regularly needs to be saved by her.
I’m guessing that one face has already flashed into your mind.
Well take those blond locks and dye them red because those words are in fact uttered by Barbara Gordon, the original Batgirl, in her own modern day origin story, the comic series Batgirl: Year One.
That comic book (which is wonderful by the way) is pretty soon going to become required reading for Whedonists the world over, if recent reports in Variety are to be believed.
Joss Whedon is apparently all but set to sign on to write and direct a stand-alone Batgirl film for the DC Extended Universe. This is huge coup for DC, especially given how far behind Marvel’s cinematic universe they are.
Joss has shown he can bring in the money (The Avengers is currently the 4th highest grossing film of all time at the US Box Office). Crucially for DC though, he also brings a degree of critical respectability that DC are no where near achieving with their own properties.
From Whedon’s point of view, he gets to relaunch his career at a slightly lower key than the full on media glare reserved for the Avengers films, rightly considered tent poles of the summer blockbuster season. Referring to filming Avengers: Age of Ultron, Joss famously said that making the film “broke me.”
It will likely be based on the Batgirl character rumored to be a part of the upcoming Harley Quinn spin off Gotham Sirens, though you would presume Whedon would be given a fair amount of licence to craft a Batgirl in his image.
Frankly, why the heck wouldn’t you? Joss is famous for creating strong, independent female fighters on screen, from his own creations like Buffy, Echo and River Tam through to big screen adaptations of existing characters like Black Widow.
Joss can also create a cast of diverse and interesting supporting characters. Batgirl doesn't quite have the rich resources of back up characters to create her own version of the Scoobies, but she does have the troubled relationship with her police commissioner father, love interest Dick Grayson (the first Robin and now Nightwing) and of course the Batman himself to occasionally drop in and brood moodily. There is plenty there for an extremely talented writer like Joss Whedon to get his teeth into.
Finally, Joss has the ability to craft strong women who are also engaging characters. As in the quote that started this article, Barbara has to fight to step out of Batman’s shadow, she is always striving to become her own woman and earn the respect of her mentor and the fear of Gotham’s criminal element – all whilst battling to simultaneously maintain something of a normal life – sound kind of familiar to anyone?
Batgirl is an awesome character who deserves a great film. She is one of the most underrated superheroes out there and whilst I’m delighted that she is getting her own moment in the limelight, I couldn’t think of anyone better suited to put her there than Joss Whedon.