Trans actor Ivory Aquino has shared a heartfelt tribute to her Batgirl co-stars after the movie was cancelled despite being in post-production.
Warner Bros Discovery officially announced the cancellation on Tuesday (2 August) after an anonymous Hollywood source told The New York Post that the studio thinks “an unspeakable Batgirl is going to be irredeemable”.
Batgirl star Leslie Grace then posted a tweet shortly after saying that she is proud “of the love, hard work and intention all of our incredible cast and tireless crew put into this film”.
She then posted a follow-up clip of her singing while suiting-up in the superhero costume, with the caption: “I feel blessed to have worked among absolute greats and forged relationships for a lifetime in the process! To every Batgirl fan – THANK YOU for the love and belief, allowing me to take on the cape and become, as Babs said best, my own damn hero!”
Aquino shared Grace’s video, saying “forever my Babs” in a moment that is as sweet as it is heartbreaking.
Forever my Babs https://t.co/a25gjx7Ftc
— Ivory Aquino (@MsIvoryAquino) August 4, 2022
Additionally, the star also posted several recordings of her and Grace singing a karaoke edition of Don’t Stop Believin’ with the caption “besties forever”.
The actor – best known for her work in When We Rise as trans activist Cecilia Chung – was set to play Barbara Gordon’s best friend and roommate Alysia Yeoh in what would have been DC Extended Universe’s first openly trans character.
Pro-LGBTQ+ media organisation GLAAD commended the casting decision and congratulated Aquino for “this major news” after it broke in January 2022.
Character Alysia Yeoh first debuted in 2011 as Batgirl’s roommate in Batman Vol 4. She was one the first transgender characters to appear in a mainstream superhero comic book, paving the way for further gender-diverse characters throughout the genre.
Writer and co-creator Gail Simone told Wired in a 2013 interview that she felt comics should reflect diversity in society, saying: “Why in the world can we not do a better job of representation of not just humanity, but also our own loyal audience?”
But the cancellation has left the character’s live-action future in limbo, with no plans to revitalise either her or Barbara Gordon’s titular heroic alias.
The film was originally green-lit in early 2021 with an expected budget of around $70 million. But after that budget grew to more than $100 million and with early test screenings proving troublesome, executives opted to scrap Batgirl altogether.
Despite the movie being cheaper than most DC films currently being produced, its cancellation makes it one of the most expensive scrapped movies in cinema history.
It was to star other big names such as JK Simmons as James Gordon, Brendan Fraser as Firefly and Michael Keaton reprising his role as Batman.