Leslie Grace Has Officially Been Cast As Batgirl

DC Comics fans were treated to the long-awaited casting news of fan-favorite Batgirl aka Barbara Gordon in the upcoming HBO Max film slated to debut hopefully in the coming year. Warner Bros. announced on Wednesday that up and coming star Leslie Grace, most recently seen in Lin-Manuel Miranda and director Jon M. Chu’s In The Heights, will be dawning the cape and cowl after a long casting call of actresses which included Isabela Merced (Dora The Explorer and The Lost City of Gold), Zoey Deutch (The Politician), and Haley Lu Richardson (The Edge of Seventeen). It was earlier reported by ScreenRant that Richardson was in talks to take the part but later passed on the role.

The project has been in limbo since the original writer and director Joss Whedon had to leave the production sometime in 2017 due to misconduct issues complained about by actors on the set of several past endeavors. Taking the reins will be directing team of Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah who found notoriety with their 2020 film Bad Boys for Life, the third installment in the buddy cop franchise starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Writing duties have been handed over to the extremely talented Christina Hodson who is no stranger to the DCEU, having penned Birds of Prey and The Fabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn for Warner Bros. It has yet to be reported if the two films will co-exist given that Batgirl is said to be a stand-alone movie, though speculation from entertainment sites like Looper isn’t counting out such a prospect in the future.

What makes the casting of Leslie Grace so interesting is the choice of casting a Dominican-American actress for the character of Barbara Gordon who has been portrayed as Caucasian over the years. Given the actor cast to play Commissioner Gordon in the upcoming The Batman (2022) is brilliant African American actor Jeffery Wright, one might venture to guess that there could be a crossover there as well. Mind you, this is merely conjectured by yours truly, though the idea of these two excellent sharing the screen as father and daughter down the road would be a wonderful decision on the creatives part. The only snag in that plan is whether or not the future DC films will be in the same cinematic universe (or multiverse, for that matter).

The origins of Barbara Gordon’s Batgirl started when she first appeared alongside The Caped Crusaders Batman and Robin and was portrayed as a sweet librarian by day and a crimefighter by night beginning in Detective Comics Vol 1 #359 back in the year 1967 (though DC Database states the original printing to have been 1966). A creation of writer Bill Finger and artist Sheldon Moldoff, the original version was released in 1961 and had Betty Kane as the then-named Bat-Girl, only to later be replaced by Barbara Gordon in ’67 according to her Wikipedia entry.

Over the years, many passes at the character were taken, most notably when she was first played in live-action by actress Yvonne Craig in the 1960’s Adam West Batman series, only boosting the character’s popularity with fans. The other popular on-screen version of Batgirl was played by Alicia Silverstone in 1997’s campy Batman and Robin where her origin story was re-written to have her be Alfred Pennyworth’s teenage niece, which didn’t seem to sit well with fans. Over the years, Batgirl and Barbara Gordon have also appeared in several animated films, shows, and video game titles.

A darker side to the character comes with her being crippled and put in a wheelchair by The Joker in Allan Moore’s dark graphic novel The Killing Joke which came as a shock to comic readers. This storyline continued through later comics when she eventually took on the moniker of The Oracle, where Barbara became a brilliant hacker and the eyes and ears for crimefighters in the field. However, other powerful women have also dawned the mantel of Batgirl after Barbara Gordon in the comics, such as Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown giving the character a rich and deep-rooted history in the DC Universe. She most notably came to find a new audience when DC rebooted the comics with the New 52 in 2011.

There is not much more known about the upcoming feature film other than what has already been reported at this time, but for sure, Barbara Gordon and Batgirl have definitely earned a place as one of the most recognizable and iconic female crimefighters in comic book history.


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