The rumors flew toward the end of September that Jeffrey Wright was in negotiations to play the popular Commissioner James Gordon in Matt Reeves’ The Batman. As of yesterday, it is speculation no more. A terrific actor who is (in my opinion) severely underrated, this was a strong casting move. It quickly led to another realization: Barbara Gordon/Batgirl could be Black. With that thought in mind, here are five choices I believe would do the iconic character justice:
1. Antonia Thomas
Likely inspired by the women’s liberation movement of the 1960s, Batgirl made her big debut in early 1967. Barbara had an “unassuming” day job as a librarian while seeking out vigilante justice at night. It’s a role Antonia could easily slide into. She plays the soft-spoken but strong-willed Dr. Clare Brown on ABC’s The Good Doctor, and a lot of those multi-layered traits could apply here also. Not to mention, watching Thomas and Wright together in scenes would be amazing.
In The Batman, Barbara could’ve had her entire life micromanaged by Wright’s Commission Gordon due to the murder of her mother/his wife when she was young. Barabara now works as an Administrative Assistant for Wayne Enterprises at her father’s behest but becomes her alter ego off the clock. Her and the Caped Crusader often cross paths chasing down the same enemies, but neither one knows the other’s identity at first.
2. Sierra McClain
I personally could see Sierra playing an edgier version of Barbara because of her work on Empire. While her father would have no idea of her secret identity, Bruce would. He would actively try to convince her not to put herself in harm’s way, but she would have zero interest in taking his, or anyone else’s suggestions. Her main reason for dawning the Bronze Age-Esque Batgirl suit would be to solve the one mystery even her father never received closure on: her mother’s disappearance. Realizing that with some honed training and focus, Bruce would take her under his wing to make her his protege.
3. Ashleigh LaThrop
You’ve likely seen her recently on the third season of The Handmaid’s Tale and the sixth season of The 100. Ashleigh LaThrop would be an excellent choice to watch Barbara Gordon’s evolution from Batgirl to the Oracle. Having been injured by The Joker before the events of The Batman, Barbara is currently pushing away her friends and loved ones. Her storyline could progress as she slowly realizes she can still be a capable combatant against crime, and that a disability is not a death sentence.
4. Rachel Hilson
Taking a page from The New 52 era, this version of Barbara’s story wouldn’t need much tweaking. Attempting to switch from Oracle back to Batgirl after recovering from her paralysis, this version of the heroine would struggle with PTSD, while also finding an allyship and eventual romance with Luke Fox/Nightwing. Rachel is doing good work on This Is Us, and I believe she would be more than capable of diving headfirst into an angsty role such as this one.
5. Kat Graham
The easiest thing to do is to have Batgirl as an already established hero who pays Gotham a visit to catch up with her father. During her stay, she becomes involved with helping former mentor Batman and on-again/off-again ex Dick Grayson take down the latest scheme that threatens to destroy the city. This is the type of character who could get her own movie in the future (especially since DC is allegedly working on it), and Kat Graham is the type who could do this justice.
Who would you choose to cast as Barbara Gordon in this series?