Batgirl is the name of several fictional characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics, depicted as female counterparts to the superhero Batman. Although the character Betty Kane was introduced into publication in 1961 by Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff as Bat-Girl, she was replaced by Barbara Gordon in 1967, who later came to be identified as the iconic Batgirl. Depicted as the daughter of Gotham City police commissioner James Gordon, she debuted in Detective Comics #359, titled "The Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl!" (1967) by writer Gardner Fox and artist Carmine Infantino. As Batgirl, the character operates primarily in Gotham City, allying herself with Batman and the original Robin, Dick Grayson, as well as other prominent heroes in the DC Universe.
Batgirl makes regular appearances in Detective Comics, Batman Family and several other books produced by DC until 1988. That year, she appears in Barbara Kesel's Batgirl Special #1, in which she retires from crime-fighting. She subsequently appears in Alan Moore's graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke where, in her civilian identity, she is shot by the Joker and left paraplegic. Although she is recreated as the computer expert and information broker Oracle by editor Kim Yale and writer John Ostrander the following year, her paralysis sparked debate about the portrayal of women in comics, particularly violence depicted toward female characters.
In the 1999 crossover No Man's Land, the character Helena Bertinelli, known as Huntress, briefly assumes the role of Batgirl until she is stripped of the identity by Batman for violating his stringent codes. Within the same storyline, writer Kelley Puckett and artist Damion Scott introduce the character Cassandra Cain, written as the daughter of assassins David Cain and Lady Shiva; she takes the mantle of Batgirl under the guidance of Batman and Oracle. In 2000, she became the first Batgirl to star in an eponymous monthly comic book series, in addition to becoming one of the most prominent characters of Asian descent to appear in American comics. The series was canceled in 2006, at which point during the company-wide event One Year Later, she is established as a villain and head of the League of Assassins. After receiving harsh feedback from readership, she is later restored to her original conception. However, the character Stephanie Brown, originally known as Spoiler and later Robin, succeeds her as Batgirl after Cassandra Cain abandons the role.
Stephanie Brown became the featured character of the Batgirl series written by Bryan Q. Miller from 2009 to 2011. DC subsequently relaunched all their monthly publications during The New 52 event. In the revised continuity, Barbara Gordon recovers from her paralysis following a surgical procedure and stars in the relaunched Batgirl series written by Gail Simone as the title character. As Batgirl, Barbara Gordon has been adapted into various media relating to the Batman franchise, including television, film, animation, video games, and other merchandise. This factored into the decision to return her to the comic book role, as Dan DiDio, co-publisher of DC Comics, expressed that she is the best-known version of the character.
Alicia Silverstone was Barbara Wilson/Batgirl in Batman & Robin. Her parents had previously died in a car accident. Alfred, her uncle, was very close to her mother, Margaret. As she is Alfred's niece and is an orphan, Barbara is not Commissioner Gordon's daughter like in the comics, hence why her surname is Wilson instead of Gordon.
Batgirl Rises (2015)
The Batgirl Rises fan film is a not-for-profit creative work of "fan fiction". It is not affiliated with, sponsored by or approved by DC Comics nor Warner Bros movies. Starring: Lindsay Heath (Barbara Gordon / Batgirl), Constance Brenneman (Harleen Quinzel / Harley Quinn), Devon Coull (James Gordon Jr.), and Robert Angelic Granger (Johnny Vitti).
Batman: Bad Blood (2016)
On July 10, 2015, it was announced that the film is currently in development and slated for release in 2016. It was also revealed that the film will feature Batwoman.
Gotham City Sirens (2020?)
In May 2016, it was reported that a Harley Quinn -focused spin-off film, which will feature other DC Comics female characters, was in development. Robbie will reprise her role as Quinn and serve as a producer as well. As of September 2016, Robbie's newly created studio LuckyChap Entertainment will help develop the upcoming film. In November 2016, it was confirmed that Christina Hodson will serve as the screenwriter the film. In December 2016, it was announced that David Ayer will direct the spin-off film, entitled Gotham City Sirens, from a screenplay by Geneva Robertson-Dworet.
By February 2017, Warner Bros. was developing a film centered on Dick Grayson / Nightwing, with Chris McKay and Bill Dubuque signed on as director and screenwriter respectively. In discussing what he is looking for in casting the character, McKay cited the level of physical activity the actor will have to endure, including martial arts, gymnastics and stunts as what will be required for the role.
Batgirl Movie (2021?)
In March 2017, Joss Whedon was hired to write, direct and produce a Barbara Gordon / Batgirl film. According to Entertainment Weekly, the film will draw inspiration from The New 52 comics by Gail Simone. In April, Whedon stated that he was drawn to the character because of her choice to become a vigilante, even though she did not have a childhood tragedy like Bruce Wayne / Batman had, and that the damaged aspect of the character will be explored in the film. In July, Geoff Johns stated that Whedon will begin production on the film in 2018. At the San Diego Comic-Con, the title was announced to be Batgirl.
Birds of Prey (2002 TV Series)
Birds of Prey is a television drama series produced in 2002. The series was developed by Laeta Kalogridis for The WB and is loosely based on the Birds of Prey DC Comics series. Despite the series debut garnering ratings of 7.6 million viewers (at the time, the network's largest premiere in the 18–34 demographic), the series was canceled after ratings fell sharply in subsequent weeks. 13 episodes were produced in total.
The series is set in New Gotham City, several years after it has been apparently abandoned by Batman. In his absence, Oracle (Barbara) and the Huntress (Helena) has taken over his war on crime. The two are joined by Dinah (after she assists them in defeating Larry Ketterly, a telepath with abilities similar to Scarecrow); Alfred Pennyworth, who serves Helena as she is heir to the Wayne estate; and Detective Jesse Reese, a police officer confronted with crimes and abilities he cannot explain.
A central feature of the series is the concept of metahumans: individuals born with powers that cannot be explained. No two metahumans have the same abilities (unless hereditary), and there exists a whole subculture of metahuman society that the outside world knows nothing about.
Detective Reese reluctantly teams up with Huntress and the other Birds of Prey to defeat metahuman criminals. At first, he disapproves of Helena's vigilantism, even trying to arrest her, but eventually he realizes there is a need for the Birds of Prey to take down criminals the police cannot handle.
During the course of the show, the Birds of Prey often confront schemes masterminded by Dr. Harleen Quinzel (Harley Quinn), though they are unaware of her involvement until the final episode of the series. Quinzel's attempts to discover what Helena is hiding, and the duplicitous nature of their therapy sessions together, form a large part of the series arc, beginning in the pilot episode and being resolved in the series finale.
- 00 Untitled (Unaired Pilot)
- 01 "Pilot" (Official 1st Episode October 9, 2002)
- 02 "Slick"
- 03 "Prey For the Hunter"
04 "Three Birds and a Baby"
05 "Sins of the Mother"
- 06 "Primal Scream"
- 08 "Lady Shiva"
09 "Nature of the Beast"
12 "Feat of Clay" (Series Finale)
- 13 "Devil's Eyes" (Series Finale)
Helena Kyle/Huntress (Ashley Scott)
The daughter of Batman and Catwoman. She is half-metahuman, with cat-like abilities inherited from her mother (also a metahuman in the Birds of Prey continuity): enhanced agility, strength, healing and a sixth sense for danger, as well as the ability to shift her eyes to a feline form. This change is usually triggered by strong emotion, but can also be used to grant Helena enhanced night vision. She was raised by her mother, without ever knowing who her father was, until the night Catwoman was murdered by an unknown assassin hired by the Joker (eventually revealed to be Clayface) in cold blood on the street, right in front of her. After this she was taken in by Barbara Gordon, who raised and trained her.
Barbara Gordon/Oracle (Dina Meyer)
Originally one of Batman's apprentices and a daughter of his trusted ally Police Commissioner James Gordon, Barbara was shot by the Joker as revenge for Batman's dismantling of his criminal operation, leaving her paralyzed and forced to give up her life as Batgirl. To compensate, she renamed herself Oracle and began using her expertise in computer hacking and weaponry to fight crime.
Oracle calls upon Huntress to handle the field work she is no longer capable of doing, and maintains her superhero contacts. By day, Barbara is a teacher at New Gotham High, but, by night, she fights crime from a secret location in the New Gotham Clocktower.
Dinah Redmond/Dinah Lance (Rachel Skarsten)
Also a metahuman, Dinah is drawn to New Gotham and Helena and Barbara by visions of the tragedies that befell them on the night of the Joker's revenge. She proves herself to the two and is taken in as a member of their team, with the condition that she train in the use of her metahuman abilities. In addition to her precognitive dreams, Dinah is a touch-telepath, able to read the thoughts of anyone she comes in physical contact with and later manifests the power of telekinesis. During the course of the series, Dinah discovers that her mother is actually Carolyn Lance, the Black Canary, also a metahuman and legendary superhero, who gave Dinah up for her own safety when she was a child. The discovery of Dinah's relation to the Black Canary led Oracle to believe that she may also have inherited her mother's hypersonic ability, although it is never demonstrated.
Dr. Harleen Quinzel/Harley Quinn (Mia Sara)
A psychiatrist Helena is ordered to see after being convicted of vandalism while chasing a thief. Unbeknownst to Helena, or the other Birds of Prey, Harley Quinn was the lover of the Joker, and has come to seek her revenge on New Gotham for what it did to her 'Mr J'. Though she presents herself as a respectable professional, one called upon by the authorities to work with violent and dangerous felons, Quinzel is herself insane, using her contacts with the criminal world to mastermind her revenge.