- "Men... always doing things the hard way."
- ―Batgirl to Batman and Robin.[src]
Barbara Wilson was the daughter of Margaret Wilson, who was the sister of Alfred Pennyworth. Barbara and Alfred were apparently close throughout Barbara's entire life, particularly when Barbara's mother and father died in a car accident. While Alfred lived in the United States and worked as the Wayne Family butler, Barbara remained in England and attended boarding school. While there, she studied computer science. Also, after her parents' death, Barbara took up motorcycle racing, as the thrill of it got her mind off her predicament. However, Barbara felt particularly disgusted at the idea of her uncle working as a servant, and when she discovered that Alfred was ill with a rare disease, flew to America in order to 'free' him.
Staying at Wayne Manor
Upon arriving in the States, Barbara met Alfred's "other family", Dick Grayson (who was immediately attracted to her, and vice-versa) and Bruce Wayne. Bruce invited Barbara to stay, during which, Alfred's disease grew steadily worse. Barbara took Batman's motorcycle (the Batblade) on two motorcycle races, the second of which being where she was saved by Robin from a dangerous situation.
While Alfred grew closer to death, he shared with Barbara an encrypted disk, which contained all of Batman's secrets. Barbara immediately hacked into disc, and discovered that Bruce and Dick were Batman and Robin, and that Alfred had planned for her future involvement.
After she donned a suit that was designed for her by Alfred, Barbara, under the guise of Batgirl, defeated Poison Ivy at the Turkish Bath House and saved Batman and Robin. After a quick debate she was accepted by the dynamic duo. After learning of Freeze's plan, the trio returned to the Batcave to don silver Ice Armor. Bruce had prepared special silver anti-ice vehicles for his final assault on Mr Freeze, including a Batblade motorcycle that Barbara was given to drive. As they rocketed through the iced streets, they defeated goons in the Freezemobile and snowmobiles before making their way to Gotham Observatory.
Thawing the city
Once inside, Barbara and Dick were tasked with thawing out satellite dishes to a satellite with their Bat-lasers. Mr. Freeze to combat Batman, and knocked his sidekicks off the building. The young heroes saved each other with grapple lines, finally bringing them closer together romantically. Soon after the were choked against a wall by Bane, Robin eventually defeated him by kicking the Venom tube out of his skull. After they retrieved the cure for Alfred's disease Barbara officially joined the team.
Fighting the False Face Society
Barbara eventually started to have second thoughts about being the third wheel in a crimefighting team. Rather than quit, she felt the need to truly prove herself as a creature of the night. After patrolling one night alone at the docks, she stumbled upon a new threat to the city, Black Mask and the False Face Society.
- Batman & Robin
- See: Batgirl (Alicia Silverstone)/Gallery for additional images
Behind the Scenes
The Motion Picture Anthology incarnation of Barbara was Alfred Pennyworth's niece and was named Barbara Wilson, rather than being Commissioner Gordon's daughter, Barbara Gordon, like in the comics. This was due to Joel Schumacher disliking the idea of Pat Hingle being anything more than a supporting character, lacking the gravitas and inherent emotional "sweetness" that Michael Gough naturally exuded. Though Barbara technically debuted in a comic, she was created by DC editors in collusion with William Dozier with the intention of her appearing in the live-action tv show at the time. Joel Schumacher was a fan of the series, and was criticized for coming dangerously close to the tone of the tv show at times. Schumacher chose Alicia Silverstone for the role after watching Clueless.
- Rather than be a red-head like in the comics, Barbara was blonde. She was the second blonde-haired Batgirl. The first was Betty Kane, the first Batgirl (though called "Bat-Girl") who eventually became Flamebird and the third being Stephanie Brown.
- The Batgirl costume that was used in Batman & Robin was later repainted and used by Dina Meyer, who played Barbara Gordon/Batgirl/Oracle for the short-lived Birds of Prey TV show.
- Although Batgirl normally wore a cowl like Batman, in that film, she only wore the cowl while she drove the Batblade. Otherwise, she used a mask that was similar to Robin's.
- Her Batgirl costume lacks gold accents, which were from the comics.
- Barbara and Dick retained their romantic banter, like in the comics.
- That was the first Batgirl who wore thigh-high boots, as seen in the suiting up scene. The second was Barbara Gordon in The Batman.
- Alfred had two nieces who appeared in comics. The first was Valerie in Batman Sunday comics (Feb-March 1945). The second was Daphne Pennyworth, who was the daughter of Alfred's older brother Wilfred, who first appeared in Batman #216 (Nov. 1969). Valerie's parents were never revealed.