Joss Whedon has confirmed that he has stepped down as director of the upcoming DC movie Batgirl, confessing that he “really didn’t have a story”.

The 53 year old director, famed for helming Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbusters like The Avengers, had hopped on board the DC universe as far back as last March when his involvement with Batgirl was first announced.

11 months later, however, the creator of cult Nineties favourite ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ is said to have given up on the project and bowed out, and that he “could not crack the code of what a Batgirl movie should be.”

Joss WhedonJoss Whedon has stepped down from 'Batgirl'

According to reports in The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday (February 22nd), Whedon “faced story issues, in today’s cultural environment, a male filmmaker may have faced greater public scrutiny if he were to have tackled a movie with lead characters of such feminist importance as Batgirl or Wonder Woman, much like a white filmmaker would have seen backlash taking on the Black Panther movie.”

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Indeed, the Patty Jenkins-directed Wonder Woman was preparing to hit cinemas this time last year, and Whedon had promised a proper competitor to that film with Batgirl, which follows the adventures of Barbara Gordon (police commissioner Gordon’s daughter).

The appointment was considered "welcome" news by the movie industry, given Whedon's history of creating superhero blockbusters with prominent female protagonists. However, Wonder Woman’s success has now shifted the industry’s opinion towards female-fronted superhero films being directed by women.

Batgirl is such an exciting project, and Warners/DC such collaborative and supportive partners, that it took me months to realise I really didn’t have a story,” Whedon himself told the same publication in a statement. “I’m grateful to Geoff [Johns, DC president] and Toby [Emmerich, Warner Bros president] and everyone who was so welcoming when I arrived, and so understanding when I… uh, is there a sexier word for ‘failed’?”

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