How 'Batgirl' getting shelved could affect Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah's career
Warner Bros has been subjected to critical examination and analysis since the 2017 movie ‘Justice League'. A lot of questionable decisions were taken when Joss Whedon’s version of the superhero flick came out that led to a huge uproar. Since then, fans track almost every move made by the production house when it comes to projects that are currently a part of the DC Extended Universe. One of the projects that fans were really excited about was ‘Batgirl’. However, the production giant stunned everyone on Tuesday when it announced that the upcoming movie is not moving forward and won’t be a part of their calendar anymore, meaning the movie has been axed and won’t be released anywhere.
The decision felt like a slap to everyone who has been hoping for the DC Extended Universe to reach the level of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. ‘Batgirl’ was supposed to release on HBO Max and there were talks of taking the movie to theatres. However, not many people know that the production budget of the movie went up to $90 million due to shutdowns and Covid-related issues. Shelving a movie is not new in the industry, however, most movies are shelved even before the movie starts filming. WB’s decision to not release ‘Batgirl’ even after it was “effectively done” has made everyone furious, especially directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah.
Although there has been no reaction from the filmmaking duo about the news, getting one of their passion projects permanently shelved is shocking. The most gruesome part of the entire matter is that El Arbi and Fallah didn’t even know that something so big was going to hit them.
Reports suggest that El Arbi and Fallah got the news of the movie being shelved while they were in Morocco. Both are currently in Morocco for El Arbi's wedding and they have certainly received the worst wedding gift ever.
The development of ‘Batgirl’ started taking place in 2017 and after a rewriting of the script, it was announced that El Arbi and Fallah will be directing the feature film, with Leslie Grace portraying the titular character. El Arbi and Fallah have been long-time fans of the character and were looking forward to telling the story of Gotham’s vigilante to the viewers.
The movie getting canned by the production giant might be a turning point for both filmmakers. The director duo has been struggling for a long, long time with the movie and sometimes a filmmaker might get apprehensive about the genre. Being a filmmaker is hard and it’s not every day that one may be asked to make a big-budgeted movie that gives good returns.
Although El Arbi and Fallah are big directors and have helmed projects such as ‘Ms Marvel’ and ‘Bad Boys for Life’, there’s no guarantee that they’ll find work easily while moving forward. But they have worked under Kevin Feige and there are a lot of Marvel projects coming up, so Marvel might choose to hire them for upcoming movies or TV shows. But it’s not that easy, there is stiff competition in the industry because multiple directors will be in negotiation to nab the same project, and production houses might choose them over El Arbi and Fallah.
We have seen a legendary filmmaker like Martin Scorsese running from one distributor to another to get ‘The Irishman’ financed and after so much effort, it was Netflix that bought it. With this example, we wanted to say that it’s not easy being a filmmaker. The glamorous world of Hollywood has a brutal reality attached to it and most of the time, it is filmmakers who have to face the heat. This is a crucial time for Fallah and El Arbi because their movie has been shelved and even though WB has said that they want to work with them, it’s still unclear when they’ll get the chance.
Until then, the director duo would have to wait and look out for future projects or work on something spectacular. As of now, their careers hang in mid-air as they got the heart-breaking news of ‘Batgirl’ getting shelved. But they are not the only ones facing the brunt, everyone else associated with the movie has also gotten into a difficult position. They worked on this project with all their heart and gave everything, including ideas that made the movie better. However, one test screening ruined everything and even though the results of those screenings were not bad, WB decided to shelve the movie citing some technical reasons.
It is a sad day for everyone who was attached to the project, especially El Arbi and Fallah who completed the movie and were just waiting to enter the editing room to finalize the product. This is a true career-altering moment for them and might change them as filmmakers. I don’t know if that would be a good change or a bad one, but it will be something that would take them on a new path.