Suicide Squad may not have been one of DC Comics' more critically well-received movies (though it certainly performed admirably commercially, making over $746 million worldwide), but one of its praised elements was Margot Robbie's portrayal of Harley Quinn, a character who was introduced in Batman: The Animated Series and has built a strong fanbase in the years since. Knowing a good thing when it sees it, Warner Bros has more plans for Robbie's Harley, and the character is next expected to appear in Birds of Prey. Since the announcement of Birds of Prey, there's been plenty of speculation as to who would make up the movie's main lineup, and according to a new report, said lineup will consist of Batgirl, Black Canary, Huntress and Renee Montoya joining Harley.
Those first three heroines typically make up the core of the Birds of Prey team in the DC Comics universe, but according to The Wrap, instead of Barbara Gordon serving as Batgirl, it will be Cassandra Cain wearing the cape and cowl instead. Dinah "Laurel" Lance and Helena Bertinelli will still be suited up as Black Canary and Huntress, respectively, and like her comic book counterpart, Renee Montoya will presumably be a detective at the Gotham City Police Department. The report also mentions that Birds of Prey's villain will be a Batman villain who hasn't appear on the big screen yet.
Assuming this information is legitimate, arguably the biggest shocker is that Cassandra Cain will be suited up as Batgirl rather than Barbara Gordon in Birds of Prey. Introduced in 1999, Cassandra is the daughter of assassin Lady Shiva and David Cain and was raised to be one of the greatest martial artists in the world. Sadly, her upbringing resulted in her never learning to speak and developing poor social skills. Despite Cassandra's dark past, Batman took her under his wing, and she served as Batgirl in the comics for many years, although she's also gone by Black Bat and Orphan. So despite Barbara usually being one of the founding members of the Birds of Prey, Cassandra will fill that role for the movie. This subsequently brings up two questions. One, will Barbara Gordon have any role to play in Birds of Prey? Two, does this mean that the Batgirl movie in development, which originally had Joss Whedon attached and is now being written by Christina Hodson, will star Cassandra instead of Barbara? Part of me wonders if Batgirl might be a prequel starring Barbara, but in the "present day" during Birds of Prey, she's now Oracle.
As for the rest of the newly-revealed Birds of Prey lineup, it's pretty much par for the course. Black Canary and Huntress are also founding members, and while both characters have been portrayed in animation and live action television on multiple occasions, this will be their cinematic debut. In Renee Montoya's case, it will be interesting to see if she'll only be active as a police detective or if any groundwork will be laid for her becoming The Question, as her comic book counterpart inherited that identity from Vic Sage. Regarding this unnamed Batman villain, the fact that this baddie hasn't shown up in a movie yet takes Penguin out of the running. Since we haven't had any major updates about Gotham City Sirens lately, I wonder if Black Mask, who director David Ayer had hinted at, has been moved to Birds of Prey.