The DC live-action universe had a bumpy start to its life on the big screen, although Warner Bros. seems to have course corrected by setting crossovers aside for director-driven projects like Shazam! and Aquaman. The next installment in the franchise is Cathy Yan's Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), which will bring Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn back to theaters following her debut in Suicide Squad.
Birds of Prey looks like it's going to be a very different comic book adaptation, putting a cast women in the forefront, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. This perspective should change how Harley Quinn is handled, and according to Margot Robbie, that includes her costumes. The 28 year-old actress recently explained this pivot, saying:
That’s what happens when you have a female producer, director, writer. Yeah, it’s definitely less male gaze–y.
While still having Harley's wild style and comic book inspiration, it looks like her appearance in Birds of Prey will be a step away from how she was introduced to moviegoers in Suicide Squad. Robbie made a strong first performance in the role, although her comments about the male gaze regarding her appearance make a great deal of sense.
The character Harley Quinn made her debut in the Batman: The Animated Series, dressed up in full harlequin costume and white makeup. And while that costume made a few brief cameos in Suicide Squad, Margot Robbie's character ended up rocking some hot pants, fish nets, and a tight shirt which was doused with water throughout the mission. She looked killer and captured Harley's essence, but it looks like the actress is more excited about her character's new looks in Birds of Prey.
David Ayer did appear to have some self-awareness about the male gaze in Suicide Squad. In fact, Harley literally put on the costume in front of a group of men who stared at her. It was a strong comedic beat in the film's first act, and helped establish who Harley Quinn was.
In her highly anticipated return to the silver screen, Harley Quinn's character is being handled by a team of women. Cathy Yan is directing, with writer Christina Hodson (Bumblebee) handling the script, and Margot Robbie producing the film alongside Sue Kroll. It's a movie starring women and made by women, and should therefore have a different perspective on the shared universe.
Birds of Prey has a killer cast attached to it, with Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosie Perez, and Jurnee Smollett-Bell playing various femme fatales from Gotham City. The mysterious plot will have them collide with Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, with the women eventually teaming up to take down Ewan McGregor's villainous Black Mask and Chris Messina's Victor Zsasz.
Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) will arrive in theaters on February 7th, 2020. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.