Comic book fans rejoiced when Joss Whedon revealed he was in talks to write and direct a standalone “Batgirl” film. Few details were given about the project, but that hasn’t stopped fans from speculating wildly about the Gotham heroine’s first-ever solo feature. And which iteration of the heroine will he use? Police Commissioner’s daughter Barbara Gordon is the original and most obvious choice. But the social misfit Cassandra Cain or morally dubious Helena Mertinelli might also appeal to the geek auteur. Regardless of which identity is chosen, its time to start dream casting the role! Take a look at the five actresses below, and cast your vote for who should don Batgirl’s cowl in our poll.
Summer Glau – Summer Glau worked with Whedon on the short lived “Firefly” and its film sequel “Serenity,” as well as “Dollhouse.” As an actress, she can project a sense of wonderment and naivete, but also has a powerful presence on camera. Cassandra Cain’s version of Batgirl grew up as a mute, deprived of human contact, with martial arts as her only outlet. That’s plenty similar to Glau’s character River Tam on “Firefly.” Glau’s mastery of Whedon’s signature wordplay also gives her the sense of wit required to portray Barbara Gordon’s Batgirl.
Amy Acker – Another Whedon-verse favorite from “Angel” and “Dollhouse.” Acker might be the best choice to portray a seasoned Barbara Gordon, years into her career. She would also nail the tragic transition of Batgirl to wheelchair bound Oracle, after the Joker paralyses Gordon via gunshot. Anyone who witnessed her portrayal of the bookish Winifred on “Angel,” whose body was taken over by the super-powered God Illyria, can vouch for this actress’s versatility. It’s easy to see Acker both kicking ass as Batgirl, and aiding Batman and The Birds of Prey from her clock tower as tech-savvy Oracle.
GuGu Mbatha-Raw – GuGu Mbatha-Raw became a critical sensation after heartbreaking performances in “Belle” and “Beyond the Lights,” and had her first box office smash with “Beauty and the Beast.” As one of the most promising newcomers in the last few years, this actress deserves a major money-making franchise. The mixture of vulnerability and strength she imbues most of her characters with is a perfect match for Barbara Gordon. Her complexity as an actress also makes her a great candidate to play a morally ambiguous Batgirl in the vein of Helena Bertinelli, who frequently finds herself at odds with Batman.
Jane Levy – For the classic Batgirl origin story with Barbara Gordon, look no further than Jane Levy. She even has the iconic red hair. Levy has had a varied career, spanning horror (“Don’t Breathe”, “Evil Dead”), comedy (“Suburgatory”, “Shameless”) and a role on David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks” relaunch. Levy has the acting chops, and even looks startlingly similar to the New 52 comics version of Barbara Gordon. It’s not hard to see her spouting Whedon’s one-liners while cracking bat guys with a right hook.
Shailene Woodley – After critically acclaimed performances in films like “The Descendants” and “Fault in Our Stars,” Shailene Woodley tried her hand at a popcorn franchise with the “Divergent” series. While that series drew diminishing returns at the box office, Woodley has returned to form with a juicy role in HBO’s hit “Big Little Lies.” Woodley has repeatedly shown she can hold her own against veteran actors like George Clooney and Reese Witherspoon, and her natural performance style would be a fantastic way to ground a superhero film.