HomeNewsWhy Kristen Stewart would make the most badass Batgirl

Why Kristen Stewart would make the most badass Batgirl

We make the case that Hollywood heavyweight Kristen Stewart could bring some much needed complexity and gender-fluidity to the role of DC's Batgirl.

Why Kristen Stewart would make the most badass Batgirl

Warner Bros. and DC Films enjoyed a standout year at the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con, as Marvel stepped down from center stage and allowed DC to take the spotlight with updates on Aquaman, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and Shazam. However, something the fandom did notice was the notable lack of mention regarding the forthcoming Batgirl movie.

The silence perhaps represents the state of limbo the project currently sits in – despite being given the greenlight, Joss Whedon exited the project earlier this year, rendering the untitled movie scriptless and director-less. Which is perhaps what makes the most recent rumor attached to the film all the more exciting – a little winged beast told us that Warner Bros. is eyeing a “Kristen Stewart prototype” for the role of Barbara Gordon and her cape-wearing alterego Batgirl.  

This is not an official statement by any means, but it does make for an intriguing prospect, one that would no doubt delight the fans of the DC superhero whose previous incarnations have left a lot to be desired. But perhaps Warner Bros. could take this idea one step further – rather than find a K-Stew “prototype”, why not just book the legend herself?

Hear us out – while the Hollywood heavyweight has proved her acting chops in a number of indie projects since her twinkle-eyed Twilight days, we think Kristen could bring some much needed complexity and gender-fluidity to the role. So if anyone from the Warner Bros. powerhouse is reading this, check out our pitch – here are all the reasons we think K-Stew would make the most badass Batgirl in DC history.

It’s about time Batgirl got some solid screen time and K-Stew should be the one to deliver it

The female depiction of Batman first appeared in Gotham City in DC Comics’s Batman #139 back in 1961, starting out as Betty Kane before being replaced by Barbara Gordon and going on to become the superhero identity of several fictional characters. As an ally of Batman, Robin, and other prominent figures of the DC Universe, she’s often sidelined and has never really had significant time to shine in the cinematic realm.

Yes, Alicia Silverstone was glorious as the character in 1997’s Batman & Robin, but alongside George Clooney’s Batman and Chris O’Donnell’s Robin, she wasn’t given all that much to do in the film. The early 00s saw a Batgirl depiction by Dina Meyer, who starred as Barbara Gordon in the WB television series Birds of Prey.

But with the influx of Marvel and DC movies, ones that are increasingly turning their attention to fierce female leads – including Wonder Woman and the forthcoming Captain Marvel and Black Widow – it’s about time Batgirl was granted the same glory.

She’s an important superhero and one who means a lot, particularly to DC’s female fandom. As Mary Sue mused, “Batgirl is a symbol that belongs to everyone, particularly to women, girls, and anyone on the female side of the spectrum who needs a hero in which they can see her / themselves.” This is something Kristen would not only understand, but could deliver on with a compelling performance.

K-Stew has not only proved her range as an actor since starring in her early movie Panic Room, but has built up a reputation as a feminist icon who isn’t afraid to call out sexist bullshit when she sees it. Just like young movie fans across the world look up to Gal Gadot and her depiction of Wonder Woman, we believe Kristen would make the perfect Batgirl and consequently a solid role model for young female fans across the globe.

K-Stew could (and should) bring gender-fluidity to the role

Up until recent times, typical female superhero characters have been depicted as spandex-wearing, big-boobed, luscious-lipped, dick-lengtheners for their male counterparts – hell, Batgirl was only initially introduced as a love interest following speculation over the homoerotic subtext in the depiction of the relationship between Batman and Robin (which should’ve been allowed to flourish on its own, in our opinion).

This has started to change as the women of the comic book cinematic universes are portrayed as ferocious warriors who are (shock, horror) actually capable of fighting their own battles rather than simply standing around pouting as they wait for their swinging dicks to return – but we have yet to see a gender-fluid superhero enjoying their own movie.

This could all change were K-Stew cast in the role of Batgirl – during her career, the actor has continually picked the most interesting queer, gender-fluid roles, including her star-making turn in Olivier Assayas’s Personal Shopper.

During an interview on the topic, Kristen divulged how she’d be happy to play a man, stating: “Gender is a bit of a myth if you ask me. Everyone’s individual relationship with gender is totally theirs to define. But I really think because of the flexibility inherent to gender, there’s room for all types of approach.” And even her roles in films like the military drama Camp X-Ray and stoner action-comedy American Ultra, Kristen has adopted these traits on a more understated but totally impactful way.

Since The CW is currently developing a Batwoman show in which the titular character’s bisexuality is set to be explored in a meaningful manner – making her the first openly gay female superhero on TV – we think it only fair for Batgirl to be granted similar freedom to tread new ground with regards to gender.

After all, while Silverstone’s Batgirl was awesome, she lacked complexity and did little else other than look (totally) cute, pout a lot, and wear leather like a total badass. Perhaps now it’s time we saw the character as one who can show and even teach audience members how nuanced sexuality can be – and as proven by her past performances, Kristen would be the perfect candidate to do so.

K-Stew’s performances prove her range and complexity as an actor

The reason the late, great Heath Ledger’s turn as the Joker in The Dark Knight was so significant and compelling was because of the dynamic complexity and darkness he brought to the role. Instead of just imitating the traits he’d seen in previous depictions of the character, he built upon their best idiosyncrasies and created original beats of his own.

Kristen’s resume proves the actor is more than qualified to give a similarly legendary performance as the night-dwelling superhero, having shown a whole range of talents in numerous movies, from the playful Phoebe in American Ultra, to the sapphic swagger of Joan Jett in The Runaways, to the troubled stripper named Mallory in Welcome to the Rileys.

When it comes to the kickass action sequences, K-Stew’s had that down ever since her Twilight days, skills that were further sharpened when she portrayed a Guantanamo Bay soldier in Camp X-Ray.

But perhaps the most significant example of her talents is the unnerving, restless energy she expels in Personal Shopper. While Supergirl and Wonder Woman are mainstays of the superhero genre, there’s a dark, gritty layer to Batman ingrained by torment and past struggles. DC’s got a solid opportunity to do the same in its standalone Batgirl story, using the narrative to explore some serious issues and present a character who despite enduring hardships, has risen from the ashes and fought back in the name of integrity.  

K-Stew has juggled all of these attributes over the course of her acting career and she’s done it with unrivalled finesse. As Batgirl herself once said: “It’s only the end if you want it to be.” In the case of Batgirl, K-Stew as the lead might be nothing more than a pipe dream. But for the character herself, this is only just the beginning of her cinematic journey.

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Daisy Webb is an outspoken, opinionated writer with a passion for all things horror and cult comedy. When she's not watching films, she likes listening to music, cooking too much food, and writing short stories with unhappy endings.

daisyp@filmdaily.co