Hard facts about the upcoming Batgirl film are still scarce. While more casting news dribbles out of the pre-production, a recent insider’s report has hinted at more than most have realized. Batgirl may be a prequel.
In the wake of the news that Brendan Fraser had been cast as a villain in Batgirl, The Hollywood Reporter writer Borys Kit took to Twitter to offer an alternative to most reports. Among other things — including that Sylvester Stallone was the first pick for the role — Kit claims that it won’t be Firefly that Fraser is playing, as many are speculating. Instead, the THR writer says Fraser will be playing crime boss Carmine Falcone. What Kit doesn’t mention is that Carmine Falcone is a villain almost always featured in stories acting either as prequels to Batman’s larger history, or stories set in the earliest days of the Dark Knight’s career. So, if Falcone is one of the upcoming film’s villains, there’s a good chance Batgirl is a prequel. You can see Kit’s tweets below.
Carmine Falcone’s very first story is a prequel, though not a Batgirl prequel. Falcone first appears in 1987’s Batman #405 written by Frank Miller with art by David Mazzucchielli, as part of the Batman: Year One storyline. The mob boss appears again in the prequel miniseries Batman: The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. Not only is The Long Halloween meant to be a sequel to Year One, but it pulls heavily from 1972’s The Godfather. For example, just as The Godfather opens with the undertaker in Don Corleone’s office saying “I believe in America,” The Long Halloween opens with Bruce Wayne in Carmine Falcone’s office saying, “I believe in Gotham City.” And just as The Godfather is meant to be the beginning of the end of the mafia, The Long Halloween acts as the story of how the Gotham mob is replaced by the more colorful villains like Joker, Two-Face, Penguin, etc.
Since then Carmine Falcone has appeared in live action media a number of times, and all of the depictions keep close to the source material in terms of portraying Falcone in the early days of Batman’s career. Tom Wilkinson plays the villain in 2005’s Batman Begins. John Dorman plays him in Fox’s prequel series Gotham. Next year’s The Batman will see John Turturro taking on the role, and like The Long Halloween the film is set in Batman’s early crimefighting days. If Falcone does appear in Batgirl and the film isn’t a prequel, it would make it something of an outlier.
So what does it mean if Batgirl is a prequel? J.K. Simmons’ return to the role of Commissioner James Gordon — which he first played in 2017’s Justice League — cements the film’s placement in the prime DCEU narrative. So if the film is a prequel, it would likely take place before the events of 2016’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, when we first meet Ben Affleck’s Batman.
A Batgirl prequel could be how the DCEU introduces a new Batman. Many are speculating that 2022’s The Flash will hit the reset button in terms of the DCEU’s continuity, which will solve problems like explaining why a new actor will likely be playing the prime DCEU’s Batman — since The Batman is set in a different narrative. Since we don’t yet have a release date for Batgirl, it will almost certainly release after The Flash. So if The Flash does give the narrative a reboot, Batgirl could be the first story to introduce the new guy.