It was recently reported that Joss Whedon will write, direct, and produce a standalone Batgirl movie and then the Internet lost its mind.
Why exactly were people so shocked about this news? Well, it’s Joss Whedon, the same Joss Whedon that wrote and directed Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Box office success aside, the two Avengers films were pretty universally praised by critics, which is something that DC has not achieved since they rebooted the DC Universe with 2013’s Man of Steel. So, Joss Whedon will not only be jumping from Marvel to DC, but he will be bringing with him that certain Joss Whedon flair that critics and fans adore. That's huge.
On top of Joss Whedon’s ability to create both entertaining and poignant superhero films, he created Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Joss Whedon is to thank for Buffy Summers, the quick-witted vampire slayer who still stressed about boys and the SATs. I mean, Buffy was basically a female superhero, right? Whedon can create kick-ass female superheroes who are still relatable, so that makes Whedon an A+ choice for a standalone Batgirl film.
With the announcement of Joss Whedon bringing the Batgirl film to the big screen, the Internet is wondering who will play the title character. There are so many choices because it is Hollywood after all. We've managed to narrow it down to 17 actresses who fit the bill perfectly, from A-list, to television stars, to pretty much unknowns.
17 Anna Kendrick
We don’t necessarily know what age Batgirl will be in the standalone film. In Batgirl #45, Barbara Gordon said that she was 18 years old when she was Batgirl. They could stay true to the comics or they could also up Batgirl’s age a bit. We’re not sure, but Anna Kendrick, who is 31 years old, still plays a college student in the Pitch Perfect films so she can certainly pass for younger if that's the route they go.
Anna Kendrick would be a great choice for the role, as she has yet to be introduced to the DC or Marvel Universes. She did appear in the Twilight franchise and is the face of the Pitch Perfect franchise, which means she can hold her own when starring in a franchise film. She was also nominated for an Oscar for her role in Up in the Air, so she would bring some serious acting chops to the role.
Since Kendrick starred in 2016’s The Accountant with Ben Affleck, here’s hoping he puts in a good word for her at DC, because Kendrick’s ability to play ambitious characters with a comedic flair could be just what DC needs.
16 Zoe Kravitz
Zoe Kravitz may surprise you, but why not? Yes, Batgirl is traditionally a white woman, but Hollywood is constantly whitewashing so maybe it's time they pay it back. Plus, DC may want to at least consider Kravitz to make up for The Dark Knight Rises debacle. In an interview, Kravitz explained why she wasn’t considered for a role in film by stating, “In the last Batman movie [The Dark Knight Rises], they told me that I couldn’t get an audition for a small role they were casting because they weren’t going urban. It was like, ‘What does that have to do with anything?’ I have to play the role like, ‘Yo, what’s up, Batman? What’s going on wit chu?’”
Uh, that’s some awful PR for DC. Zoe Kravitz has also had smaller roles in franchises, playing Angel Salvadore in X-Men: First Class and Christina in the Divergent series. While she’s not the most obvious pick, Zoe Kravitz is a kick-ass actress and would slay this role.
15 Evan Rachel Wood
Of course, our minds just go straight towards red headed actresses so here’s Evan Rachel Wood. Wood has been acting since she was a child, starring in everything from the Beatles based musical Across the Universe, to Woody Allen’s comedy Whatever Works, to Darren Aronofsky’s gritty The Wrestler. While she’s never achieved the kind of overwhelming fame of, say, Jennifer Lawrence, Wood has been steadily acting for years. She’s also hot right now because of her role in HBO’s Westworld, in which she plays a gun slinging chick who decides not to be the damsel in distress anymore.
While Evan Rachel Wood isn’t as naturally funny as Anna Kendrick or Emma Stone, she brings a darker edge to her roles, which is about on par with the way the DC Universe has been building itself. We expect Joss Whedon to bring a lightness and comedic relief to the Batgirl film, but the other DC Universe films – especially Batman V Superman: Dawn of the Justice League – were, like, so serious. Wood fits into the serious, heavy universe of DC.
14 Emma Stone
When you saw the title of this article, you knew Emma Stone would be on this list, right? It’s just so obvious. Actually, it’s a little too obvious, but we'll get to that. Stone not only has the look of Batgirl down, but her career is also on fire right now. After winning an Oscar for her performance in La La Land, Stone is the Hollywood darling of the moment. Of course, Stone has been beloved since her role in 2010's Easy A, but she's now on another level.
After launching into stardom, Stone starred as Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. But, uh, those movies weren’t great. Now that Spider-Man is rebooting within the Marvel Universe, Stone is a free agent so to speak. She could certainly join the DC Universe as Batgirl, as she has the acting abilities to open a blockbuster. She is also used to the insane amount of press that one must do when they star in a superhero film. However, doesn’t Emma Stone seem, like, too obvious? I love me some Emma Stone, but I also enjoy when a new face pops up and really embraces an iconic role. Still, she seems like a clear choice for Batgirl.
13 Alicia Vikander
The past few years have been huge for Alicia Vikander, who starred in critical darlings Ex Machina and The Danish Girl. Her performance in The Danish Girl would even go on to win her an Oscar. Since her rise to the top, Vikander has been trying to widen her film credits – y’know, starring in more than just artsy indie films and period pieces. She has since appeared in 2016’s Jason Bourne and is set to star as Lara Croft in 2018’s Tomb Raider. With the extensive physical demands of a role like Lara Croft, it’s safe to say that Alicia Vikander will be up the to physical challenge of playing Batgirl. A comic book movie would always be a great move to broaden her career. So, it's really a win-win.
Honorable Mention: Brie Larson also won an Oscar in 2016. We would totally nominate Brie Larson to play Batgirl, but Marvel scooped her up already. She’s set to play Captain Marvel in Avengers: Infinity War and a following standalone film.
12 Anya Taylor-Joy
Let’s get really young, shall we? At just 20 years old, Anya Taylor-Joy is about as close to an 18-year-old as you can get. She went from being completely unknown to being a hot ticket in Hollywood. In 2015, she starred in The Witch, a horror film set in the 1630s (yes, the 1630s), which became a critical darling. Taylor-Joy went on to star in 2016’s Split and Morgan. Split was a mega hit, making $269.9 million on a budget of just $9 million. While the success of Split may be mostly due to M. Night Shyamalan's plot and the marketing of the film, Taylor-Joy held her own in the blockbuster.
While Anya Taylor-Joy is relatively new to Hollywood, she would be a great choice if you wanted to go with a newer face. The certain vulnerability and strength that Taylor-Joy brings to all of her performances would play particularly well for a Batgirl origin story. Also, she’s about the age of Batgirl in the comics so that's a bonus.
11 Chloë Grace Moretz
Chloë Grace Moretz is only 20 years old, but she’s just been around the Hollywood block for sometime now. Her big break came in 2009’s (500) Days of Summer, in which she played the whip-smart little sister of the protagonist. The following year, Moretz appeared in Kick-Ass as Hit-Girl. Since blasting into fame at a very young age, Moretz’s career has, admittedly, been all over the place. She appeared in 2013’s Carrie remake, the less popular Gillian Flynn adaptation Dark Places, and the comedy Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. But, her wide-ranging talent could be what makes her such a good Batgirl.
Chloë Grace Moretz would bring her certain irreverent humor to the role, which may play well in a Whedon film. Also, as an outspoken feminist (she’s gotten into some Twitter wars with the Kardashian sisters), Moretz could be a great choice for the role since she would be a role model to little girls everywhere.
10 Hailee Steinfeld
Like Anya Taylor-Joy and Chloë Grace Moretz , Hailee Steinfeld is also only 20 years old. But unlike the two previous actresses, Steinfeld has been nominated for an Oscar. So, she’d be bringing that nominated-for-an-Oscar swag to the role. Since her Oscar nominated performance in True Grit, Steinfeld went on to appear in 2013’s Ender’s Game so she’s no stranger to the difficulties of action films. She also joined the Pitch Perfect franchise in 2015 and is set to appear in this year’s Pitch Perfect 3. Between the Oscar nom, action background, and experience with a franchise film, Steinfeld seems to have the perfect pedigree for starring in a Batgirl film, but she doesn’t look like Batgirl at all. How much does that matter to fans, though? We’re not sure.
We also have to mention that Hailee Steinfeld is part of Taylor Swift’s squad. That’s not wildly important, but if you have Taylor and her whole squad (aka half of Hollywood) posting about Batgirl on social media that may bring extra people into the theaters. I mean, Tay-Tay has 99.8 million followers on Instagram alone, so...
9 Rooney Mara
Rooney Mara is one of the more controversial choices on this list, but hear us out. At 31 years old, Mara is older than the likes of Chloë Grace Moretz or Hailee Steinfeld so she’d be playing an older, more mature Batgirl. Since we don't actually know what direction the film will be going in, this could work.
Since Mara hasn’t been in a Marvel or DC film yet, she would be a completely new addition to the world of superhero films. Mara has mostly appeared in critically acclaimed films, like 2013’s Her, 2015’s Carol, and 2016’s Lion. She has also earned two Academy Award nominations for her performances in Carol and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Clearly, she’s a great actress, but she could certainly broaden her career. Batgirl would be a great opportunity for Mara to branch out into a blockbuster film. Scoring Mara would also be a great opportunity for DC to earn credit with the critics, who generally trash DC films. It could be win-win for Rooney Mara and DC.
Honorable Mention: Kate Mara, aka the Rooney sister with red hair. The downfall is that Kate Mara was in the 2015 Fantastic Four reboot, which bombed at the box office and was panned by the critics. The failure of that Fantastic Four film may not have been Kate Mara's fault, but we still kind of hold it against her.
8 Carey Mulligan
Another controversial choice but, again, hear us out. At 31 years old, Mulligan would also be playing an older Batgirl, though the actress can certainly pull off a younger age. I mean, she basically looks like a human version of Tinkerbell so she still has that certain youthful vibe on the screen.
Like Rooney Mara, Carey Mulligan would also bring a certain critical acclaim to the movie. She’s a critic darling, who exploded with 2009’s An Education. She was the It Girl of that awards season, earning an Oscar nomination in the process. Mulligan went on to star in other critically acclaimed films, such as Drive, Shame, and Inside Llewyn Davis. Admittedly, her star has fallen a bit in the most recent years, but that’s all the more reason to cast Carey Mulligan. It would be a nice surprise, instead of casting someone more obvious like Emma Stone, not that we have anything against Emma Stone.
7 Rose Leslie
Among fans, Rose Leslie is considered one of the frontrunners. Of course, it’s partially because of the red hair. I mean, Rose Leslie already looks 100% the part, right?
Rose Leslie came to prominence with her role on Game of Thrones as Jon Snow’s bae. Her character has since be killed off the show, but Rose Leslie is still Jon Snow’s bae, as she’s been dating the real life Jon Snow, Kit Harington. Leslie now stars in The Good Fight, which has received rave reviews. Despite the fact that her work has been predominately on television, she certainly has star power. Also, Game of Thrones is basically action movie level filming, so she has experience in that regard.
Honorable Mention: She may not necessarily look the part as much as Rose Leslie does, but 19-year-old Maisie Williams would be an inspired choice. She’s filmed hardcore action scenes for Game of Thrones so she could handle the role in that respect. Williams also has a way of commanding every scene she's in, but also bringing a quick-witted humor. That's a combination we all know Joss Whedon loves.
6 Mary Elizabeth Winstead
At 32 years old, Mary Elizabeth Winstead is one of the older actresses on our list, but she has one of those any-age faces. Like, she could be 17 or 37. We're not sure.
Among fans, Mary Elizabeth Winstead is also often named as a choice actress for Batgirl. She started her career by appearing in (really bad) horror sequels like Final Destination 3 and The Ring Two, but we won’t hold that against her. She found her way into the Die Hard franchise with 2007’s Live Free or Die Hard and 2013’s A Good Day to Die Hard. These films have given her experience with action sequences and being in a major blockbuster. She also appeared in 2010's Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, which was based on a graphic novel.
Most recently, Winstead starred in 2016’s 10 Cloverfield Lane, giving a knockout performance that drove the film. She proved she’s up to the challenge of doing action films and that she can carry a film, so why not?
5 Shailene Woodley
Shailene Woodley, because duh. At 25 years old, she’s a good mid-point in the actresses we’ve listed. She could also play a college-aged Batgirl or older Barbara Gordon, so there would be a lot to play with in terms of casting Woodley.
Shailene Woodley may have become known from her role in ABC Family’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager, but it was her role in 2011’s critically acclaimed The Descendants that elevated her star power. After that, Woodley became a box office hit with 2014’s The Fault in Our Stars, which unexpectedly brought in $307.2 million at the box office. The success of The Fault in Our Stars more than proved that Woodley can carry a hit.
Of course, Shailene Woodley currently stars as Tris in the Divergent franchise that is, thankfully, coming to a close. The Divergent franchise has not had the kind of box office performance as was predicted. I mean, people were calling it the next Hunger Games, but it’s no Hunger Games. Woodley deserves to be in a franchise that doesn’t suck and that’s why Batgirl could be great for her.
4 Leighton Meester
Yes, it’s a controversial choice - maybe the most controversial choice on this list - but Leighton Meester would be a surprising and fun choice for the role.
Leighton Meester came into prominence in 2007 with Gossip Girl, a show praised for the way it showcased the hedonistic lives of Upper East Side teenagers. Gossip Girl, like almost every teen drama ever made, started to falter when the teenagers graduated high school and never quite captured the glory of earlier seasons. Regardless, Leighton Meester was a standout on the series for her way of delivering quick, clever lines and painfully emotional scenes. Even though Meester has superior acting talents, the series really launched the career of Blake Lively, who starred in 2011’s Green Lantern.
The fact that Leighton Meester nails the cold, sharp wit Joss Whedon projects are known to have could make her a great fit for the project. Plus, Joss Whedon worked at The WB and Leighton Meester worked at The CW. Match made in heaven!
3 Rachel McAdams
At 38 years old, Rachel McAdams is by far the oldest actress on this list but we still think she should be considered for Batgirl, mostly because she's awesome.
2004 was the year of Rachel McAdams, as she starred in both Mean Girls and The Notebook, two films that have since become part of pop culture history. McAdams has gone on to do comedy with The Wedding Crashers, critically acclaimed drama with Spotlight, and a shit ton of romantic comedies. In 2016, she was introduced in the Marvel Universe in Doctor Strange. But, to be honest, no one would have noticed if Rachel McAdams wasn’t in Doctor Strange. She was completely underutilized, playing a simple romantic interest role. McAdams is way too good for that! She could 100% open a superhero movie as the star. DC should steal McAdams right out from under Marvel. I mean, Marvel clearly doesn't appreciate what they have with her.
2 Lily Collins
As the daughter of Phil Collins, her rise to the top was, uh, pretty easy. Her very first film role ever was in 2009’s The Blind Side, which was both a box office success and critically acclaimed. Collins went on to star in Mirror Mirror, Disney’s live-action Snow White film. While she’s had some success, she hasn’t been too directly entangled with one specific role or franchise, so it would be like casting a new face in the role... y’know, a new face who is also the daughter of Phil Collins.
Honorable Mention: Emma Watson. We know she’s a favorite pick for the role, but after playing iconic roles like Hermione and Belle, maybe it’s time Emma Watson does something else, right?
1 Jane Levy
We all agree that Emma Stone and Jane Levy will probably play sisters in a film one day, right? The actresses seriously look like they are related. But, in the Batgirl debate, Jane Levy has the added appeal of not being an It Girl. She's more or less unknown, which sometimes works better when casting a huge superhero role. I mean, before Suicide Squad, Margot Robbie was really just "that hot chick from Wolf of Wall Street" who we all vaguely knew.
Jane Levy started out on Shameless before starring in Suburgatory for three seasons (they re-cast her role on Shameless). During her time on the sitcom, Levy rocked some Joss Whedon-esque zingers with the flair of someone who can truly deliver comedy. Levy has since transitioned to film roles, starring in 2013’s Evil Dead, a role in which she had to be buried alive with her head in a plastic bag… and she did it, though she's said it was terrifying. That’s commitment, baby. Levy reunited with her Evil Dead director Fede Alvarez in 2016’s Don’t Breathe, a film that received critical praise and had a stellar box office run.
In her career thus far, Jane Levy has proven she can star in a box office hit, she will do anything her role requires of her, and she's hilarious to boot. We don’t want to say she’s a perfect Batgirl, but…
Sources: theguardian.com, buzzfeed.com, herocomplex.latimes.com