Joss Whedon will be taking on Batgirl after finishing his work on Justice League. Hopefully his version of Batgirl doesn’t get the Buffy treatment.
Like many Buffy fans, I was in high school when Buffy the Vampire Slayer debuted. It was my sophomore year and I remember the “cool girls” running into my second period math class (late, of course) karate chopping invisible vampires. Suddenly, with Buffy it was cool to like vampires and vampire shows.
Joss Whedon’s iconic television show helped so many young people deal with aspects of their lives because they saw themselves in the Buffy-verse. There were outsiders and cool kids, awkward relationships and wallflowers, and real life galore. Sometimes Buffy was more about real life issues than it was about a girl fighting vampires.
Whedon will be helming the big screen adaptation of Batgirl. He has talked before about why Batgirl’s story was so compelling, namely that Barbara Gordon makes the decision to become Batgirl even though she has never experienced the kind of trauma that led Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson to become Batman and Nightwing (formerly Robin).
Unlike Barbara Gordon, Buffy was born to be a slayer, and her whole life changed when Giles showed up to inform her of her true destiny. Both women became forces of nature, kicking butt and taking names.
But will Batgirl become the new Buffy?
Don’t get me wrong, I think Joss Whedon is a great director. I enjoyed The Avengers and Age of Ultron, and I’m eager to see what he does with Justice League in Zack Snyder’s absence. But will he turn Barbara Gordon into Buffy Summers?
One of Whedon’s strengths as a writer is his sharp and acerbic wit. Buffy was quick to deliver one-liners as sharp as the stakes she used to kill vampires. But is that the right direction for Batgirl?
Batgirl has been portrayed in various ways over the years. From the 1960s Yvonne Craig to Alicia Silverstone, to Batgirl’s appearances in Batman: The Animated Series. She has always been a valued, though underused, sidekick in Batman cinematic and television canon. Most recently, Batgirl had a one night stand with Batman in 2016’s Batman: The Killing Joke, an animated adaptation of one of the grittiest graphic novels in the DC Comics universe.
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Barbara Gordon hasn’t had a chance to really develop her voice onscreen, so Whedon has an opportunity to develop her character. If the Batgirl film turns out to be anything like Wonder Woman, we can hope to see her in future entries of the DC Extended Universe. And that’s why Batgirl needs to be her own person and not Buffy 2.0.
I have full confidence in Whedon as the person in charge of this project, but I sincerely hope that Batgirl gets her own chance to shine.