It's common for some projects to run into obstacles, but "Batgirl" was subject to an undignified death. Back in August, the $90 million superhero flick from directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah ("Bad Boys For Life") was not only taken off of the Warner Bros. Discovery release slate, but shelved indefinitely. With the merger between WarnerMedia and Discovery, budget cuts and project re-evaluations were always going to happen, but locking away an entire film while in the stages of post-production was an unprecedented move with long-lasting ramifications.

What started as a shock to the industry slowly became the norm, as WBD CEO David Zaslav started purging other near-completed projects such as the "Scoob!" sequel "Holiday Haunt," in addition to a bunch of other projects made for HBO Max. It's harrowing to see how easily a studio with one of the best film libraries in the industry succumbs to regarding art as a tax write-off, especially ones they have no intention of releasing.

Not only would "Batgirl" have seen "In the Heights" star Leslie Grace don the cowl of the DC superhero, but there's also the return of Michael Keaton's Batman and J.K. Simmons' Commissioner Gordon, in addition to Brendan Fraser playing the villainous Firefly. There are a number of reasons why WBD came to this terrible decision, including an overhaul of the DC Universe, but the news still leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

Even after having a labor of love of theirs tossed in the WBD vault, the "Ms. Marvel" duo said they would return to the studio, albeit with a notable exception.

'Just So Long As The Movie Comes Out!'

In a profile piece for The Hollywood Reporter, when El Arbi and Fallah duo were asked if they would come back to WBD if they asked, their requirement was a simple one:

"Yeah, we'd still work with them […] But on the condition that the movie comes out. I mean, if Warner says 'do you want to do the next Batman or Superman?,' of course we'll say yes. Just so long as the movie comes out!"

Less than five months ago, this kind of request would have seemed odd, but WBD has changed the landscape in such a short amount of time. There have been countless stories since about talented folks learning that their projects have been tucked away, not because of quality control, but money. Zaslav seemingly sees it as a wiser business decision to cut their losses without seeing the irreparable harm it does WBD in the long term.

The domino effect of the "Batgirl" cancellation has led to the many artists who have contributed to WBD and other HBO Max projects losing trust in the studio. Why would you go to work for a company that could either kill or scrub months (or even years) of work at the drop of a hat? It surprises me that El Arbi and Fallah would entertain the idea, especially after the fallout.

Arbi And Fallah Weren't Able To Attend The Funeral Screening

WBD held funeral screenings, which is such a dire term in and of itself, at the end of August before it was locked away for good. Having "Batgirl" be seen by the people who made it seems like the least they could do. But while it was shown, El Arbi and Fallah were not only absent from the screenings, as they were in Belgium at the time, but the version of "Batgirl" that the select few saw wasn't even an edit they approved of (via The Hollywood Reporter):

"We still needed additional photography, there were a lot of scenes missing and the VFX was not there […] I don't know if [Warner Bros.] are really gonna go for that, but we'll see, sometimes we think it's f*****, but sometime it's like.. Maybe!"

I wish I had their optimism in the face of their work being shelved for corporate greed. Given that Zaslav has played the merchant of death with a number of WBD projects already, it appears less and less likely that the film will see the light of day. The "Batgirl" cancellation would be disheartening news to hear at any point in time, but the fact that the filmmaking duo found out while they were in Morocco for El Arbi's wedding feels like pouring salt on the wound.

Not too long afterward, they were immediately locked out of accessing any of their footage. All El Arbi and Fallah had left were some behind-the-scenes material, of which they've generously shared on Instagram. The parameters surrounding this shake-up make you wonder why the pair would ever want to collaborate with WBD again.

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The post The Batgirl Directors Would Work With Warner Bros. Again, But Under One Condition appeared first on /Film.