How Zack Snyder’s Justice League ‘Laid the Groundwork’ for Batgirl Star’s Return

The casting of J.K. Simmons as Gotham City Police Commissioner James Gordon in the DC film universe back in 2016 was met with enthusiasm — Simmons, one of our best character actors, already had proven his superhero movie bona fides with his definitive take on Daily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jameson in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies a decade earlier.

But when Gordon made his debut in Justice League — the truncated 2017 version started by director Zack Snyder and finished by Joss Whedon after a family tragedy took Snyder away — his participation was frustratingly small, limited to a single rooftop scene with Batman and some of his superfriends. Even in Snyder’s restored version of the movie, 2021’s Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Simmons’ screen time was only marginally expanded.

Nevertheless, his involvement was meant to be introductory, with Simmons pegged to return for a standalone Batman film starring Snyder’s Caped Crusader, Ben Affleck. But that movie never happened, morphing instead into The Batman with Matt Reeves directing, Robert Pattinson putting on the cowl and Jeffrey Wright — another of our great character actors — stepping into the role of Gordon.

But this is, after all, the age of the cinematic multiverse, and as it turns out, Simmons was not out of the top job at GCPD yet. As reported last summer, Simmons will reprise the commish in next year’s HBO Max movie Batgirl, which places that movie (directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah) squarely in whatever remains of the Snyderverse. As Simmons tells Looper, Gordon (who is also the dad of Batgirl/Barbara Gordon, played by Leslie Grace) will have more to do this time around.


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