It seems that Warner Bros. has found its Batgirl: In the Heights’ Leslie Grace. Deadline and TheWrap report that the actress recently tested for the role, and that she’s been tapped to play the character in the upcoming superhero film.
Earlier this year, Warner Bros. brought on Bad Boys for Life directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah to helm the film as a direct-to-HBO Max original, which was written by Birds of Prey and The Flash screenwriter Christina Hodson.
While the various versions of the character have appeared in live-action form over the years (in the original Batman TV series, in 1997’s Batman & Robin, and in the upcoming third season of HBO Max’s Titans to name a few), she has yet to headline her own film. Not for the lack of trying: Warner Bros. hired Joss Whedon after he directed the first two Avengers films to write an adaptation, but he eventually left. Shortly thereafter, Warner Bros. brought on Hodson to pen the film.
According to Deadline, Grace will play Barbara Gordon in the film, one of the best-known versions of the character.
Batgirl first appeared in 1961 as the alter ego of Betty Kane, a sidekick to Kathy Kane’s Batwoman, and was phased out a couple of years later. DC later resurrected the mantle thanks to the 1966 Batman TV series, which needed a female character. They opted to introduce Batgirl as the daughter of Gotham’s police commissioner Jim Gordon—Barbara Gordon, a librarian. The character was a hit, and later introduced in the comics, where she grew in prominence.
Notably, Barbara was later retired in Alan Moore’s Batman: The Killing Joke, in which she was attacked by the Joker and paralyzed. She traded being Batgirl for a new role, an information broker named the Oracle. The Batgirl mantle has been worn by other characters as well: Helena Bertinelli, Cassandra Cain, and Stephanie Brown.
But Barbara Gordon is the best-known version of the character, and it’s of no surprise that any film adaptation would follow her story. As to what specifically the film will be about, Warner Bros. hasn’t said, nor how it will fit into the larger universe of DC adaptations.
We also don’t know when the project will debut, but Grace’s casting signals that production will likely start in the near future. In the meantime, we’ve got plenty of DC films on the way: The Suicide Squad is set to debut next month, Black Adam, The Flash, and Aquaman 2 are coming in 2022, and Shazam! Fury of the Gods is scheduled for 2023.