The DC live-action universe has had a fascinating tenure in theaters, full of ebbs and flows. While movies like Wonder Woman and Aquaman proved what the studio was capable of, there were major missteps along the way with Justice League and Suicide Squad. The latter was directed by David Ayer, and failed to live-up to the sky high expectations set by the movie's trailer. But it still made money and earned an Oscar, while introducing audiences to fan favorite character Harley Quinn.
Played by Margot Robbie, Harley Quinn is generally considered the saving grace of Suicide Squad. Quinn brought the character to to the screen for the first time in live-action, and Warner Bros. has a variety of projects cooking to keep Robbie's villain front and center. While we already knew about her role in Birds of Prey, a new rumor indicates that Cathy Yan's female-centric blockbuster is only the first in a trilogy of movies for Harley.
This report comes to us from Geek WorldWide, and the publication allegedly knows someone close to production. While far from official or confirmed by Warner Bros, expanding Harley's influence in the DCEU stands to reason. Margot Robbie's character inspired countless Halloween costumes, and she's one of the most popular figures in the universe. And with the actress' starpower only growing over the years, it's the perfect time to strike while the iron is hot.
Of course, this report hasn't been confirmed by Warner Bros. Besides, the DC universe hands out its movie announcements more liberally that its competitors like X-Men or the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There have been a ton of projects announced by DC, although only a handful appear to be actively moving forward, and becoming a reality. This includes quite a few possible vehicles for Harley Quinn.
Harley's next appearance in the DC Universe will be in Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). As you can tell by the subtitle, Cathy Yan's upcoming female-centric blockbuster will put quite a bit of focus on Margot Robbie's crazed clown of crime. The movie will see Harley back in Gotham, and interacting with some of femme fatales that inhabit Batman's signature city. This includes the likes of Black Canary, Huntress, and Renee Montoya.
One has to wonder what the titular emancipation is in reference to, although smart money says its Harley's unhealthy relationship with The Joker. While Jared Leto's villain isn't on the bill for Birds of Prey, Harley has gained more confidence and independence through her female friendships in the comics-- especially Poison Ivy.
The emancipation might also refer to her evolving moral compass. While still a villain, Harley Quinn showed humanity and empathy toward her teammates in Suicide Squad. She ultimately returned to help the group complete their mission, after being briefly rescued by the likes of her puddin'. Will she function as more of a villain or hero in Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)? We'll just have to wait and see, as DC has a few releases on the docket ahead of that possibly R-rated installment.
Aside from Birds of Prey, there are a few other possible titles that would allow Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn to chew the scenery in yet another DC blockbuster. Chief among them is Suicide Squad 2, which seems to be one DC project that is actively developing behind the scenes. Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn has signed on to write the film, and inject his specific vision and sense of humor into the DCEU.
Suicide Squad 2 would be a great way to reunite Harley with her co-stars from the first film, especially as the motley crew had become a family unit of sorts during their mission. In particular, she bonded with Will Smith's Deadshot, who fans can't wait to see return to the DC Universe once the actor's schedule allows.
Besides Birds of Prey and Suicide Squad 2, Warner Bros. was also reportedly working on a movie focused on Harley Quinn and Joker's insane and horrifying relationship. There were even talks about the movie including Dr. Phil, as the two crazed Batman rogues seek couple's therapy. It's currently unclear whether or not this movie is moving forward, although both Margot Robbie and Jared Leto have expressed their interest in working with each other in a more expansive way.
Considering Birds of Prey, Suicide Squad 2, and the Joker/Harley movie have all been discussed, perhaps that's the trilogy of Harley Quinn movies that was reported. Rather than a traditional threequel arc, this would give the fan favorite character the ability to interact with a variety of DC favorites, and grow from her experiences. And if the three movie arc ends with her final confrontation with Jared Leto's Joker, it would be a masterful go at serialized storytelling across multiple franchises.
It should be fascinating to see how much emphasis the DC Universe puts on shared stories moving forward. Ensemble movies like Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad didn't fare well critically, while smaller origin stories have proven themselves the shared universe's strongest suit. Wonder Woman and Aquaman are the two most successful installments thus far, as they told more contained stories and shied away from crossovers.
Next up is Andy F. Sandberg's Shazam! which will tell a unique type of origin story. The director has already revealed that he won't be including crossovers or appearances from the Justice League. This would seemingly indicate Warner Bros. focus on smaller, more contained stories. Giving Harley a large arc across multiple movies would assure fans that serialized storytelling was still alive and well, despite the mysterious fate of actors like Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill.
Aquaman is in currently in theaters now, and making a ton of money at the box office. Shazam! will arrive on April 5, 2019, and Harley Quinn will pop back up in Birds of Prey on February 7th, 2020. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your trips to the movies in the New Year.