Casting for big-budget movies is a ridiculously complex process. It’s not just about who is right for a role, it’s about who is right for the movie. A director can’t always cast the most talented person who walks in the room. If the studio feels that person doesn’t have the star power needed to put paying customers in seats, then they’re out of the picture. It’s a game of compromise, and one that is heavily weighted against newcomers.
As with all things, though, there are exceptions to the rule. If the movie or character has the marquee star power on its own, it doesn’t need to get supplemented by a celebrity. This is how Star Wars: The Force Awakens can cast newcomers like Daisy Ridley and John Boyega. And it’s what Joss Whedon will be banking on when he inevitably casts his Batgirl movie.
Variety tried to get Whedon to cough up some potential Batgirl names on the carpet of the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 premiere and the Avengers director wasn’t having it. He did say, “I’m not against movie stars, they’re great, but you need somebody who’s going to be just right, and a situation like this the name carries a lot of weight, so it’s not as critical.”
Most people may not know the rich comics history of Barbara Gordon, but the name Batgirl is the selling point. Who is wearing the suit won’t affect the box office too much, as was obvious with Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl in Batman & Robin. It could be Jennifer Lawrence or it could be your neighbor down the street. People are going to see Batgirl, just in the same way people are going to see a new Star Wars movie. And it’s encouraging to know that Whedon is way more focused on getting the script and the character right than he is worrying about who will be on the poster.