has packed in a ton of iconic DC Comics characters, but there’s one conspicuous absence: Batgirl. There was a Batgirl in the mix in Season 2, with Barbara Gordon behind the cape and the cowl. Babs has moved on to a different role in Season 3, which raised the question of why neither Stephanie Brown nor Cassandra Cain took on the mantle as they did in the comics, especially since Bart became Kid Flash after Wally. Executive producers Brandon Vietti and Greg Weisman addressed why there’s no Batgirl:
When Bart became Kid Flash, he was doing it in Wally’s memory. But Barbara’s not dead. And we like the idea of both Stephanie and Cassandra having their own identities as opposed to stepping into someone else’s shoes. As for who might or might not be what down the road – NO SPOILERS!
Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain may have been Batgirls on the pages of DC Comics, but didn’t choose to give them the Batgirl title just because Barbara is out of the game as a physical fighter. Although has not clarified what happened during the time jump between the second and third seasons or whether it follows the arc of , Babs in Season 3 is wheelchair-bound and operating as Oracle.
Oracle is a hero in herself as she handles technology and communication for the various other superheroes, even though Barbara had to leave the physical fight behind. She is still alive, however, and so going by how executive producers Brandon Vietti and Greg Weisman revealed via Reddit AMA that handles its legacies, Batgirl still belongs to her. Besides, Stephanie and Cassandra are no less of heroes because they’re not a Bat in name. Both are on Robin’s team, with Stephanie as Spoiler and Cass as Orphan.
Bart became Kid Flash in honor of Wally, not simply because the Kid Flash suit was vacated. Even as a longtime fan of the various incarnations of Batgirl, I’m glad to see Stephanie and Cassandra in identities of their own. On , they would have been compared to the original Batgirl rather than allowed to form their own superhero identities. Admittedly, neither has gotten much screen time in Season 3 so far, but we can always hope for more! Cass will make an appearance as Batgirl outside of the comics, although not in .
There is the point that the Robin mantle was handed from hero to hero without the previous holder dying. While Jason Todd did die before Tim Drake became Robin, Dick Grayson was still alive and well when Jason became Boy Wonder #2. (Jason seems to have recovered quite well from his death.) Still, there is a difference between Dick presumably making the decision to give up Robin to become Nightwing and Barbara losing the option of fighting the good fight as Batgirl.
The first half of Season 3 release on DC Universe on Friday, January 25. Unfortunately, the second half of the season won’t kick off until June. There are plenty of other superhero options this midseason, though, particularly with the -verse on The CW.