“Batgirl” directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah told Insider while promoting their new Syrian war drama “Rebel” that watching Warner Bros.’ most recent DC tentpole, “The Flash,” was a sad experience for them. They claim they were told by studio executives that “Batgirl” would release after “The Flash,” thus continuing Michael Keaton’s revived run as Batman/Bruce Wayne. But that never panned out after Warner Bros. Discovery infamously shelved the movie in August 2022 in order to take a tax write off. The film had originally been made directly for streaming on Max, but the studio was pivoting its film strategy to theatrical releases and felt “Batgirl” wasn’t up to snuff.
“We watched it and we were sad,” Adil told Insider of watching “The Flash.” “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. We didn’t get the chance to show ‘Batgirl’ to the world and let the audience judge for themselves. 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.”
More from Variety
“Our movie was very different than ‘The Flash,'” Adil added. “That has a big fantasy component, ours was more grounded. More like Tim Burton’s Gotham City.”
Bilall called the shelving of “Batgirl” the “biggest disappointment of our careers,” adding, “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.”
The directing duo reiterated that despite “Batgirl” being axed, they would still director another DC tentpole under new bosses James Gunn and Peter Safran if given the chance.
“There’s still a feeling of unfinished business,” Bilall said.
“Our love for DC, Batman, Batgirl, Gotham City, it’s so big that, as fans, we could never say no to another project,” Adil added. “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.”
The next DC release is “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” opening in theaters Dec. 20 from Warner Bros.
Best of Variety