‘Batgirl’ Directors Say Experience Is the “Biggest Disappointment” Of Their Careers & There’s No Secret Cut To Be Leaked

Upon retrospect, the cancellation of “Batgirl” was just a precursor of the current era of streaming where companies are flat-out canceling projects before they’re given the chance to be released. TV shows are being canceled during production or before an episode airs. Films are being shipped off to other studios. And really, the situation with “Batgirl” was just the first major example of this new, cutthroat era of streaming. That said, for the filmmakers behind the unseen superhero film, the situation is still a massive disappointment that hurts. 

READ MORE: Leslie Grace Rebuts Claims That ‘Batgirl’ Is Unreleasable & Says The Cut She Saw “Was Incredible”

Speaking in an upcoming episode of The Playlist’s “The Discourse” podcast (full episode coming soon), filmmakers Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah talked about their newest film, “Rebel,” which hits select theaters this week after its Cannes debut earlier this year, but they also spent some time looking back on the “Batgirl” debacle. Most people probably remember, but “Batgirl” was supposed to arrive on then-HBO Max but was shelved during post-production to save money. Later, new DC Studios co-CEO Peter Safran spoke up and said the film was “not releasable,” which seemed a bit harsh honestly. Regardless, El Arbi and Fallah still have feelings over the situation.

“Without a doubt it’s the biggest disappointment of our career because we do this because of passion, you know? When you want to make a movie, you love the story, the characters, Gotham City, and DC, and all that,” said El Arbi. “Choosing is losing and we had to turn down another fantastic project for it–we lost ‘Beverly Hills Cop 4’ in order to do ‘Batgirl,’ which makes it even more painful because it was a tough, tough decision.”

He added, “We love the fandom and the audience. They’re our bosses. And to not be able to allow them to judge the movie for themselves is a big disappointment.”

Fallah agreed with El Arbi, but he added that the comments about the quality of the film didn’t affect him. He just wishes fans would get a chance to see the film eventually.

READ MORE: DC Studios Reportedly Scraps A ‘Batman Beyond’ Movie With Michael Keaton

“For me, it was a very painful period. What I remember is a very painful period. I was not afraid [this would affect our careers] because we just started editing, so it’s like, the movie still had a long way to go, so whatever was being said [about the quality] was not really important,” said Fallah. “For us, it was important and we were still hoping that, ‘Ugh. I’m hoping this movie will still see the light.’ So, that is how I felt throughout that period and also to feel all of the support from everybody in the industry–all the creators and artists. I think that was the power that got us through this period.”

Of course, the second it was announced that “Batgirl” was canceled, fans immediately were hoping the filmmakers would leak their cut of the film. Unfortunately, for those people hoping El Arbi and Fallah have some sort of secret cut of “Batgirl” on a hidden harddrive are out of luck.

READ MORE: ‘Rebel’ Review: Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah’s Radicalization Drama Pulsates With Terrible Inevitability [Cannes]

“No, we tried, man! It’s nowhere to be seen,” said Arbi. “We never saw it again. I mean, never say never. I guess we’ll see, but we never got our day in court. We didn’t get the chance to make our case. It just happened. We’re still not 100% sure what happened. But yeah, the thing is–that’s just the decision that was made and we hope maybe one day we’ll get the chance to explore the world of Batgirl and Gotham City and go back there because we’re still huge fanboys of that world and our love for those characters and those comic books is so big that, obviously, if we were allowed to come back, we would do that with pleasure.”

It’s clear that El Arbi and Fallah are handling a terrible situation with immense grace. It must be incredibly upsetting to see something you put your heart and soul into for months (or years) and get so close before the rug gets pulled out from under you with no warning. So, it’s nice to see them with such positive attitudes. 

Also, they’re great filmmakers, which softens the blow somewhat. And if you want to support El Arbi and Fallah, you can see “Rebel” in select theaters beginning on September 15.

–Additional reporting by Mike DeAngelo