Rather than wear her classic costume from Batman: The Animated Series, Suicide Squad’s Harley Quinn will be wearing a costume in the film that’s more inspired by what she’s wearing nowadays in the New 52. Gone is the tight jester costume in favor of a more gritty and punk look. For fans of the much-revered ‘90s Batman cartoon, this is a radical visual departure from Harley’s early appearances, but her co-creator Paul Dini has a good idea of why they went in this direction for Suicide Squad.
While appearing on the Shanlian on Batman podcast, Dini, a writer and producer on Batman: The Animated Series, stated that while many people love the classic Harley costume, he believes it wouldn’t have worked in Suicide Squad’s more realistic world, a.k.a. the DC Extended Universe. Dini said:
I know it’s jarring to a lot of the people who love the classic Bruce Timm suit. I love it myself. But in that world [of the Suicide Squad movie], I just don’t see it happening. It’s a rougher, more street look. I think it works fine.
Dini later said in the podcast that he thinks Margot Robbie is a wonderful actress and is looking forward to seeing this interpretation of Harley Quinn. With his comment, Harley’s Suicide Squad look has earned the approval of both her creators. Earlier this year, artist Bruce Timm admitted that while he was originally worried that she would look bizarre, he thought she looked "pretty cute." You can see Timm’s original design for Harley below, who was later incorporated into the comics after enjoying enormous success on Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures.
Harley isn’t the only clownish DC character that’s getting a revamped look. Jared Leto’s Joker is also strikingly different visually from his comic book counterpart, with tattoos and bejeweled teeth added along with his white skin, ruby lips and green hair. Dini noted that Harley and Joker have "real-world looks" for Suicide Squad, and compared this version of the duo to Sex Pistols member Sid Vicious and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen.
Harley's Suicide Squad outfit is only the most recent costume change Harley has gotten in recent years, which includes the Batman: Arkham video games and her New 52 appearances with the Suicide Squad and in her solo book. However, there was a rumor earlier this year suggesting that she will go through several costume changes during the film, so perhaps we’ll still see her wearing something resembling her original outfit (i.e. the red and black color scheme).
You can see Harley out in the field alongside other notable DC villains when Suicide Squad hits theaters on August 5, 2016.