Joss Whedon has a bit more to say about his Batgirl departure—and the nixed Wonder Woman script he wrote for DC in the mid-aughts. Back in February, the filmmaker announced that he was exiting that studios Batgirl project nearly a year after announcing plans to write, direct, and produce a stand-alone movie about the heroine. At the Monday night premiere of Avengers: Infinity War, Whedon elaborated on his departure, explaining that his initial rationale—that he didnt have “a story” for a stand-alone Batgirl movie—was not “exactly true.”
“It had been a year since I first pitched the story,” he explained in a red carpet interview with Variety. “A lot happened in that year, and I felt some of the elements might not work as well. The story sort of crumbled in my hands. There were elements that I just hadnt mastered.”
Whedon also said that he did have an idea for the script—but it “didnt fit in the space that was left for it, so it was a little heartbreaking.”
Whedon didnt expand on what he meant by “a lot happened in that year”—but he may have been referencing his stormy personal life. His ex-wife, Kai Cole,wrote an essay in August accusing Whedon of having numerous alleged affairs during their relationship. She also accused him of being a hypocrite when it comes to feminism: “He used his relationship with me as a shield,” she wrote, “both during and after our marriage, so no one would question his relationships with other women or scrutinize his writing as anything other than feminist.”
A spokesperson for Whedon responded with a following statement to the Wrap: “While this account includes inaccuracies and misrepresentations which can be harmful to their family, Joss is not commenting, out of concern for his children and out of respect for his ex-wife.”
There was another crack in Whedons feminist armor when an old script he wrote for a potential Wonder Woman movie leaked online and was instantly criticized as a sexist rendering of the superhero. The screenplay also happened to leak shortly before Patty Jenkinss big-screen iteration of Wonder Woman hit theaters and earned rave reviews.
In his Variety interview, Whedon also addressed this particular backlash, saying he went back and re-read the script after hearing all the criticism.
“I dont know which parts people didnt like, but . . . I think its great,” he said. “People say that its not woke enough. I think theyre not looking at the big picture.”
Whedon did concede that he wasnt “the most woke individual who ever lived at that time,” but said that he still strongly believes both the script and the characters within his Wonder Woman have “integrity.”
“I stand by it,” he said.
Perhaps, in Whedons stead and in the wake of all the controversy, DC will hire a female director to helm Batgirl. Fans have been pressing the studio to hire women beyond Jenkins to steer its slate of superhero movies, especially when those movies center on female characters. Margot Robbie has already been leading that charge, insisting that a female director be tapped to helm her upcoming Harley Quinn spin-off. She got her wish in April, when the studio tapped newcomerCathy Yan, who will also make history as the first Asian woman to direct a DC superhero film.
Get Vanity Fairs HWD NewsletterSign up for essential industry and award news from Hollywood.Yohana DestaYohana Desta is a Hollywood writer for VanityFair.com.