He released a statement to the Hollywood Reporter, sharing that he ultimately was unable to come up with a story fit to carry the film.
Now, however, The Hollywood Reporter confirms that Whedon will no longer write or direct Batgirl and is stepping aside.
"Geoff and Toby" are DC president Geoff Johns and Warners Picture Group president Toby Emmerich.
Joss Whedon is often seen as a pioneer in feminist pop culture, creating the cult classic television show Buffy, the Vampire Slayer in 1997. This news isn't exactly surprising, seeing as Whedon was once reportedly fired from the project, though that rumor turned out to be false... at the time. A decade ago, Whedon was actually attached to write and direct Wonder Woman, and the draft leaked previous year was criticized for "constantly sexualizing and demeaning its lead character, it's like an evil mirror universe version of the movie we eventually got".
The report goes on to say that Whedon couldn't "crack the code for what the Batgirl story should be".
The idea of hiring a woman to take his place quickly floated around Twitter, with many fans saying they'd prefer it that way, similar to how Patty Jenkins directed this summer's smash hit "Wonder Woman". Moreover, in the wake of Wonder Woman, other industry sources note that Whedon and WB may have faced scrutiny if Batgirl was brought to the screen by a male filmmaker rather than giving that opportunity to a woman. Over the past year, Gal Gadot's portrayal of Wonder Woman has skyrocketed to untold heights of popularity thanks to her standalone movie.
Interesting enough, Whedon stepped in to direct Justice League when Zack Snyder was sidelined due to a family tragedy.