Joss Whedon has stepped down as writer/director of Warner Bros’ DC Extended Universe Batgirl movie.
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, The Avengers director said that his decision simply came down to not having a story to tell:
“Batgirl is such an exciting project, and Warner/DC such collaborative and supportive partners, that it took me months to realize I really didn’t have a story. 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’?”
While Whedon, who took over directing duties for Warner Bros’ Justice League last year after Zack Snyder took a personal leave, claims that story issues are the primary reason for his exit, THR’s story notes that it can also probably has something to do with the optics of a male filmmaker directing a film such as Batgirl:
“Industry sources add that even as Whedon faced story issues, in today’s cultural entertainment environment, a male filmmaker may have faced greater public scrutiny if he were to have tackled a movie with such feminist importance such as Batgirl or Wonder Woman, much like a white filmmaker would have seen backlash if they were to take on the Black Panther movie.”
Additionally, it’s hard not to think that revelations about Whedon’s questionable relationships with women also played a role in the filmmaker’s exit. With Whedon’s diminished reputation, it’s difficult to imagine WB wanting to keep him on regardless.
It’s unclear what WB’s plans are for Batgirl going forward but with the enormous financial success and cultural importance of Wonder Woman, they’ll more than likely find someone else to take over directing duties.