Back in November of last year, a report surfaced that claimed Joss Whedon was no longer directing the Batgirl movie, but it was not confirmed by Warner Bros., DC Films, or the director. However, Whedon has now confirmed that he will not be directing the movie and adds that he "failed." The original report suggested that the intense reshoots of Justice League ate up too much of Joss Whedon's time that he was supposed to use to develop Batgirl. In addition, Whedon's ex-wife wrote an open letter discussing some of the director's personal life, which was not very flattering to say the least.
In a new statement, Joss Whedon announced that he is no longer directing the Batgirl movie after months of speculation that he had left the project. Since the initial report in November, Justice League came out to a lukewarm response and some major shuffling occurred behind-the-scenes at Warner Bros. and DC Films. In the statement, Whedon takes on the blame, adding that he "failed." He explains.
"Batgirl is such an exciting project, and Warners/DC such collaborative and supportive partners, that it took me months to realize I really didn't have a story. I'm grateful to Geoff and Toby and everyone who was so welcoming when I arrived, and so understanding when I... uh, is there a sexier word for failed?"
Although Joss Whedon says that there were story issues that he could not overcome, it seems more likely that a female director is a better idea for the project in the current Hollywood climate. Warner Bros. and DC Films would understandably like to try and bank on some of Wonder Woman's epic success. There could also be backlash if a man were to direct the Batgirl movie at this time, which is something that everybody involved would like to avoid. So, it might not have been all on Joss Whedon to leave the project.
And then there's that open letter that the director's ex-wife wrote, where she calls him a hypocrite for preaching feminist ideals. Kai Cole claims that Joss Whedon used to talk about respecting women all of the time when they first met and later married. But after their marriage crumbled, Cole says that she learned the truth. In a letter that Whedon wrote to Cole at the end of their marriage, the director admitted to having multiple affairs, sexually and otherwise, over the course of years after becoming a famous Hollywood director and producer, who was not able to turn down temptation.
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In the end, it seems that Joss Whedon and Warner Bros. and DC Films had an amicable split. This is pure speculation, but it seems that these accusations along with a slow-moving story process, paired with the current climate in Hollywood led to the director stepping down and accepting all of the blame. You can read the rest of the statement over at the Hollywood Reporter, who were the first to publish the story.