- The DC Universe should avoid retelling Harley Quinn’s Joker origin story to prevent portraying it poorly and glorifying domestic abuse.
- Cutting Joker out of Harley Quinn’s story would allow her to remain a strong, independent character with her own fascinating story separate from the Joker.
- While it’s uncertain if Margot Robbie will return as Harley Quinn in the DC Universe, there are possibilities for her future appearances, such as a potential cameo in the Waller TV show or a continuation of her story in a project like Gotham City Sirens.
If Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn returns in Suicide Squad 3 or elsewhere, James Gunn and Peter Safran’s DC Universe should avoid rehashing her Joker origin story. Ever since she was introduced to the DC canon, Harley Quinn’s story has been interwoven with the Joker. As depicted in both David Ayer’s Suicide Squad and the opening of Cathy Yan’s Birds of Prey, Harley starts off as Dr. Harleen Quinzel, until she falls in love with the Joker and falls into a vat of chemicals, becoming his partner in crime Harley Quinn.
In Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, a quasi-sequel to Ayer’s movie, Harley Quinn’s origin story isn’t retold again, but does play a part in her storyline, as it’s referenced when she’s taken prisoner by the Corto Maltese president general. However, both Birds of Prey and The Suicide Squad depict Harley Quinn as largely her own character, taking her out from the shadows of the Joker and giving the character her own agency and storylines only loosely connected to her former love. With the DCEU making way for the new DC Universe, Gunn and Safran have a chance to fix Harley Quinn’s story going forward by eliminating her Joker origin entirely.
The DC Universe Skipping Harley Quinn’s Joker Origin Avoids 2 Problems
When it released in 2016, Suicide Squad received a great deal of criticism for its depiction of Joker and Harley Quinn’s relationship because it seemingly glorified domestic abuse. The Joker and Harley’s relationship is often depicted as abusive, and much of the character’s arc in Birds of Prey sees Harley trying to build a new life for herself after leaving the Joker. However, Suicide Squad didn’t feature much, if any condemnation of the way the Joker treated Harley, and since much of the story is framed from her perspective, viewers only see the way she’s rationalized the abuse and remained in love with him. This is part of the problem with Harley Quinn’s origin, it’s very difficult to depict while remaining sensitive to the implications of the story. Cutting it from the DC Universe would help the franchise to avoid portraying the story poorly.
It would also ensure that Harley Quinn remains a strong, independent character in her own right. When Harley was first introduced to DC canon on Batman: The Animated Series, she was little more than Joker’s sidekick. However, as the comics and other media have developed her character, she’s become an extremely popular anti-heroine with a fascinating story of her own completely separate to the Joker. If the DC Universe were to cut Joker out of Harley Quinn’s story, she’d still be an interesting character, one worthy of starring in Suicide Squad 3 or other possible movies in Gunn and Safran’s franchise.
What Harley Quinn’s DC Universe Future Could Look Like
As of now, it hasn’t been confirmed whether Margot Robbie will be returning as Harley Quinn in the DC Universe. Suicide Squad 3 wasn’t on the list of DC movies and shows announced by Gunn in January as part of the DC Universe’s Chapter 1, Gods and Monsters. However, he also revealed it wasn’t the full list of titles expected to release in Chapter 1, so a third Suicide Squad movie could still be in the cards. That said, there’s another project where Harley could show up – the Viola Davis-led Waller TV show based on her Suicide Squad character. Little is known about the Waller TV show, but given Harley Quinn is the only remaining Suicide Squad character to have appeared in both movies and survived, it makes sense she might have a cameo appearance.
Beyond that, there were a number of projects in the works that would star Robbie’s Harley Quinn at one time. One of them, Gotham City Sirens, would be an excellent continuation of Harley’s story in the DC Universe, and would give the franchise a chance to introduce new versions of both Catwoman and Poison Ivy, the other DC characters who star in the Gotham City Sirens comics. Of course, since Gotham City Sirens was being developed as part of the DCEU, it’s possible Gunn and Safran may not move forward with it. Given Harley Quinn’s popularity, especially Robbie’s version, hopefully the DC Universe finds some way for her to return, whether it’s in Suicide Squad 3 or elsewhere – and the character can finally move on from Joker origin story.