Is Harley Quinn the New Face of the DC Extended Universe?
Harley Quinn's popularity and Warner Bros' need to put her in almost every movie going forward might be a bigger plan to make her the center of things.
Harley Quinn has become increasingly popular since she debuted as Joker’s main squeeze and hench girl on Batman: The Animated Series. And her profile has risen ever more so after Margot Robbie played her in Suicide Squad.
More and more emphasis is being placed on Harley subsequently and she seemingly will be a fixture in the years to come. Robbie stars as Quinn again in Birds of Prey and The Suicide Squad with more adventures in the offing, e.g., Gotham City Sirens.
It all seems too perfect, as if part of a grander scheme on the part of Warner Bros. At least, that is what Comic Book Cast put forth in a discussion during their most recent podcast, in which they raise the question: “Who wants to see more Harley Quinn?”
It’s All About Her
If Birds of Prey is successful, they deduce we will see more of Quinn in a way that makes the Extended Universe “centric around her,” as one of them puts it. The others point out it already is measurably. One said BOP is “90% her, 10% everything else.”
The complete title is “Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn),” after all. She is kicked out by Joker and is forced to move on with life sans her Puddin’. Harley’s ability to stand on her own is put to the test in many ways starting there. (Related: New Birds of Prey Set Photos Appear to Show Joker Kicking Harley Quinn Out)
And CBC theorizes a self-actualizing persona is where the studio is going, citing the Underworld movies (which star Kate Beckinsale as a fierce female vampire “death dealer”) as an example of how it could work.
“From their standpoint, like, ‘Well, it’s cheap to make Harley Quinn movies so just shove these out there and we’ll see how they do.’ Because it’s gonna turn into that Underworld scenario where if you invest X amount, you get X amount back every time so just keep on doing it.”
Fourth Walls and Soft Reboots
Subscribe and get our daily emails and follow us on social media.
By opting in, you agree to receive emails with the latest in Comic Culture from Bounding Into Comics. Your information will not be shared with or sold to 3rd parties.
CBC’s pundits see Warner adding Deadpool’s fourth-wall-breaking to the equation, starting with the DC Universe cartoon featuring Kaley Cuoco. As we’ve heard, BOP is supposed to have an element of that but one on the panel contends Harley will only narrate the story. They then posit WB calling for reshoots to make the movie more postmodern if the DCU animated show is successful. (Related: Report: Warner Might Not Be Happy with Birds of Prey and Could Make Changes)
What they do with Harley isn’t 100% concrete yet, despite current plans, and CBC acknowledges WB’s direction keeps shifting. One of them remarks on The Suicide Squad’s status as a sequel/soft reboot with connections to the first movie, especially Quinn’s relationship with Joker. How far Warner drifts from that hinges on BOP doing well, they conclude:
“I guess Birds of Prey will be the deciding factor, whether people show up to that or not and what it does…if that movie entertains me a lot, I’ll be all for it…”
He adds reviews probably won’t affect anything since they didn’t in the aftermath of Suicide Squad and then professes his view the follow-up will be good because of James Gunn. (Related: James Gunn Teases Harley Quinn for The Suicide Squad)
Pushing Harley to the forefront is a predictable move when you consider the vested interest Margot Robbie has taken in adapting the character. Taking a page out of her countryman Hugh Jackman’s book on Wolverine, Harley is Robbie’s pet project — her ticket to the top.
She and Warner can fill in the gaps however they like, which they are. As CBC points out, casual audiences don’t know much about Harley’s origin or the grimmer parts of her story:
“A lot of people don’t know anything about Harley Quinn…and that’s kind of why they’re rewriting who she is in the Warner Brothers universe. Because if you sit there and go back to who she was originally…you’re like, ‘Oh, wow, this is really messed up.'”
Joker seduced her into joining the dark side — like in Suicide Squad — but that isn’t where the madness ends. Their tryst is so toxic and abusive, Harley has been left near death at certain points (“Mad Love” comes to mind).
Those elements are being toned down and Harley is fast becoming a figure of female empowerment for DC. CBC calls it Harley’s 180 that, “from a marketing standpoint,” one panelist gets. Harley’s marketability is highest amongst female cosplayers and merchandise aimed at girls. (Related: Margot Robbie on Harley Quinn’s Birds of Prey Costumes: “Less Male Gaze-Y”)
In closing, they leave the topic on a wait-and-see note, remarking how they’ll be back in five months talking about how Birds of Prey will affect the DCEU and if it sparks any crossovers.
Where do you think Harley will go in the DC film universe? Is she the center of it all? Please leave your thoughts.