‘Proud of you guys’: Adil El Arbi shares Kevin Feige’s email supporting ‘Batgirl’ crew after cancellation
Following the cancellation of their project by Warner Bros, 'Batgirl' filmmakers Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbi received a note of solidarity from Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. Despite having already been shot, the $90 million 'Batgirl' film will not be released in cinemas or on HBO Max, the studio announced on August 2.
Fallah and Arbi have received overwhelming support from fellow filmmakers such as James Gunn, Edgar Wright, and Kevin Feige. Arbi shared an email from Feige to him and Fallah following the film's cancellation. Two episodes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe series 'Ms Marvel' were directed by the 'Batgirl' filmmakers. Captioned "Thanks brother Kevin," Arbi replied to Feige's Instagram post.
“My friends, I had to reach and let you know we are all thinking about you both,” Feige wrote in an email to Fallah and Arbi. “Because of the wonderful news about the wedding (congrats!) and the disappointing news about ‘Batgirl', Very proud of you guys and all the amazing work you do and particularly ‘Ms Marvel’ of course! Can’t wait to see what is next for you. Hope to see you soon.”
Fallah and Arbi directed two episodes of 'Ms Marvel', a Marvel Cinematic Universe series. They were in Morocco for Arbi's wedding this week when they discovered about 'Batgirl'. In addition to 'Ms. Marvel', the two directors built a reputation for themselves in Hollywood as the directors of 'Bad Boys for Life', an action film starring Martin Lawrence and Will Smith that grossed $206 million in the United States and $426 million worldwide, surpassing the first two 'Bad Boys' films.
This expression of support stands in sharp contrast to Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zaslav's remarks that 'Batgirl' was not up to par. “We're not going to release any film before it's ready,” he remarked. “We're not going to release a film to make a quarter, we're not going to release a film — the focus is going to be, how do we make each of these films, in general, as good as possible. But DC is something that we think we could make better, and we're focused on it now.” The studio is writing off 'Batgirl' by not releasing it, since it was determined that the film was not large enough for theatrical distribution and was just too expensive for streaming. The film was initially intended for HBO Max, but Warner Bros Discover's new leadership is only interested in superhero films for theaters.
Zaslav then mentioned his previously stated objective of assembling a team with a “10-year plan focusing just on DC,” akin to the route Disney has taken with Marvel Studios, as led by Feige. He did not, however, reveal who would lead that team. “These are brands that are known everywhere in the world,” he added of the DC characters.“And as part of that, we’re going to focus on quality. DC is something that we think we could make better, and we’re focused on it now.”
However, even within the corporation, the turmoil has not been warmly received. Walter Hamada, president of DC Films, was reportedly on the verge of resigning due to the high-profile cancellation of 'Batgirl', Furthermore, the corporation has begun to abandon HBO Max Originals, leaving reviewers and commentators scratching their heads as to what Warner Bros Discovery is up to. Nonetheless, both actors and filmmakers have banded behind the 'Batgirl' directors.
“I feel blessed to have worked among absolute greats and forged relationships for a lifetime in the process!” stated Leslie Grace, the film's star.“To every Batgirl fan - THANK YOU for the love and belief, allowing me to take on the cape and become, as Babs said best, ‘my own damn hero!’”
I feel blessed to have worked among absolute greats and forged relationships for a lifetime in the process! To every Batgirl fan - THANK YOU for the love and belief, allowing me to take on the cape and become, as Babs said best, “my own damn hero!” #Batgirl for life! 🦇 pic.twitter.com/4D9ZM87Ytu— Leslie Grace (@lesliegrace) August 4, 2022
Even Wright and Gunn are said to have sought out the filmmakers to express their support. “Thanks for all the messages of support all over the world!” Arbi said on Instagram. “Shoutout to directors @edgarwright & @jamesgunn! Your kind words and experience mean a lot and help us through this difficult period. #batgirlforlife”
Wright has had a comic book tentpole taken away from him previously, as he worked on 'Ant-Man' at Marvel for years before leaving the project before production owing to creative disputes. Gunn, on the other hand, has worked for both Warner Bros/DC ('Peacemaker' and 'The Suicide Squad') and Disney/Marvel (three 'Guardians of the Galaxy films), which is the same line Fallah and Arbi were about to cross by transitioning from 'Ms Marvel' to 'Batgirl',
A day after the news broke, the filmmakers made their own statement, saying they were "saddened and shocked." "We still can't believe it," the pair added. "As directors, it is critical that our work be shown to audiences, and while the film was far from finished, we wish that fans all over the world would have had the opportunity to see and embrace the final film themselves. Maybe one day they will insha’Allah.”
'Batgirl', starring Leslie Grace, was also slated to star Rebecca Front, Corey Johnson, Jacob Scipio, Brenda Fraser, JK Simmons, and Michael Keaton.