Farewell then, Batgirl. So long and thanks for all the memories.

Like the Gotham City Police Department patrol cars and the fake offies which popped up in Glasgow’s Trongate to weird out the parking attendants and bamboozle inebriated locals who carried no nickels, dimes or green-backs. Like the fake snow and the quaint yellow fire hydrants. Like the daft props – pretend icicles! – and even dafter graffiti. Like the road closures, the busy, bossy folk in quilted jackets, the clipboard-wielding assistants with their squawking walkie-talkies.

And so long to you Leslie Grace, actor and singer, who spent many weeks in the city, often inside an eye-wateringly tight Batgirl costume emblazoned with a cool Batgirl logo. You had a cape too.

On Twitter you can watch self-shot footage of Ms Grace squeezing herself into said costume in a hotel room while singing I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston – footage posted on August 4, the day after it was announced by Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) that the Batgirl movie would not be released. Like, ever. This after WBD has spent $90 million making it and arranged for both a cinema release later this year and video-on-demand access through streaming platform HBO Max. It’s already being called the most expensive shelving in Hollywood history, and it’s not as if it featured a cast of complete unknowns, either. Alongside Grace, a Grammy nominated singer, Batgirl stars Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne (reprising his role from the 1989 reboot) and Oscar- and Golden Globe-winner JK Simmons.

Belgian directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah were in Morocco at the time of the announcement for the former’s wedding, at which Will Smith was a guest of honour. They released a statement – “We are saddened and shocked by the news,” it read. “We still can’t believe it. As directors it is critical that our work be shown to audiences” – and Smith has promised to slap whoever is responsible, as an extra wedding present to El Arbi alongside the Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air boxset.

Actually I’m not sure about that last bit, so don’t take is as gospel.

“The decision to not release Batgirl reflects our leadership’s strategic shift as it relates to the DC universe and HBO Max,” a WBD spokesperson said in a statement last week, which clarified nothing. Author of the “strategic shift” is new WBD chief executive officer David Zaslav who has done what incoming CEOs like to and swept off the desk everything his predecessor left on it – can you believe they’ve canned Scoob! Holiday Haunt? too – while also promising to cut costs. There are various other things – hirings, firings, mergers etc. – but you don’t need to know any of that.

What you do need to know is that the WBD statement does not include a paragraph which reads: “Oh, and sorry to you too, Glasgow. No hard feelings, eh pal? You were just a wee bit too edgy even for Gotham City. Good luck getting Eurovision next year, though. PS: Thanks for the £150,000 you offered us to film in the city. PPS: You can keep the fake icicles.”

Hey Tinseltown, is an apology so hard? After all, this was a big deal for Glasgow, the first major American film to be shot entirely in the city.

For the record, the £150,000 film incentive grant appears not to have yet been paid, Glasgow Film Office can point to the high number of Scottish-based crew members employed on the shoot, and Glasgow City Council maintains that there has been a large economic boost to the city regardless. So no, it wasn’t a total disaster. But the inconvenienced residents and business owners who had been looking forward to at least seeing their streets on the big screen in a superhero movie are not pleased and would doubtless like to hear an apology.

One of them, King Street clothing shop operator Robert Chambers, spoke to the BBC and said his shop had had to shut for a period in January. “The £1,000 compensation we got over the 30 days worked out at £30 a day. That doesn’t even turn the lights on in here. It was just a wasted month really.”

Kerri-Ann Angus, manager of a waxing salon and brow bar in the Merchant City, was similarly dischuffed. “It’s a bit disappointing,” she said. “It was a bit of an upheaval from a business point of view. We gave them a bit of our shop and our clients didn't know if we were open … We had to move our brow bar into the rooms which is not ideal for our girls and there was a bit more admin as well. We had to move clients on days we were closed.”

So farewell, Batgirl. You have left a city scunnered. What was intended as an ‘au revoir’ when the production packed up and left Glasgow in March has turned into an ‘adieu’ because we will never have a chance to see you ever again. Not even on Channel 5 a decade hence, squeezed into an early afternoon weekday slot between a re-vamped Neighbours and Travels With Truss, in which failed Tory leadership contender and Celebrity Bake Off runner-up Liz Truss tours Middle England on a shire horse.

Yes, you were that bad. Or were you?

Although Grace was talking as recently as April about a mooted sequel, it was noted by industry watchers and superhero geeks that at July’s Comic-Con event in San Diego there was no mention of Batgirl at a DC Comics panel devoted to movie releases. That should have set alarm bells ringing.

At the same time there have been mutterings about the quality of the finished film based on the response of test audiences. Mutterings the studio was all too well aware of, clearly. “They think an unspeakable ‘Batgirl’ is going to be irredeemable,” an industry source told the New York Post last week (“Holy millions down the drain, Batman” was the story’s opening line). And so the studio decided to cut its losses.

Of course the same people who feel a little cynical about the strategic shift story may also have doubts about the too-bad-to-release story because, well, when has that ever been reason enough for a studio to throw away $90 million?

And so to the lowest theory doing the rounds: that the decision to bin Batgirl is not really about quality, it’s about enabling a tax write-off. This, says industry bible Variety, is “seen internally as the most financially sound way to recoup the costs (at least, on an accountant’s ledger).” Speaking to website Fortune.com, US tax law specialist David Blum explained more. “If they were to write this off as a worthless investment, they get a deduction … It’s like a business venture that fails.”

Worthless investment? Batgirl?

Of course doing that means the movie can never be released. Sure it might not be a great work of art – though as 2019’s Joker showed, there’s plenty a superhero film can say about the human condition – but it is an entertainment, one in which people have invested time, energy and creativity. It deserves to be seen. To lock it away for purely pecuniary reasons is an extreme and, frankly, barbaric way to treat any sort of cultural content. No wonder a rival studio executive speaking to showbiz website Deadline called the move “unprecedented” and said they were “floored” by it.

Then again, who are they kidding? With everyone’s appetite whetted, Batgirl is sure to be sprung from her cell and leaked to the internet before the year is out. We’ll get to see those fake icicles yet, I’m sure.