Mild SPOILER ahead for Birds of Prey.
Fans who’ve already seen Birds of Prey may have felt like they had a little bit of deja vu. Though the film can be seen more or less as a standalone apart from its predecessor, Suicide Squad, there is a moment early on in which Harley Quinn returns to a key location from the first film. And it turns out there was a reason it was familiar -- the footage was taken from David Ayer’s Suicide Squad.
At the beginning of Birds of Prey, we see Harley Quinn going into the chemicals at the ACE Chemical Plant. And it’s reminscent of a pivotal scene in Suicide Squad -- and with good reason. In an exclusive interview with the film’s director Cathy Yan, ReelBlend asked if she had shot the scene herself, or used footage from the original Suicide Squad film for that sequence:
We actually did use some Suicide Squad footage, yeah. ... I think we tweaked it a little bit to fit into our world. But I think that the whole point was that it should feel like a memory. That was everything that she was thinking through the flashes of that. That was what was impacting her as she was driving too her thing. I really liked that. I liked that little flourish. And I think it helped remind people what the significance of ACE chemicals is.
That significance, of course, is that the ACE Chemicals Plant is the place at which Harley Quinn really gave herself over to the Joker in Suicide Squad. After asking her to pledge an oath of loyalty to him, Harley happily dove into a vat of chemicals -- which ended up changing the pigment of her skin -- before the Joker jumped in to fish her out. In this moment, Harley both literally and figuratively proved she had descended into madness. And as should be obvious by now, her loyalty and love for the Joker didn’t exactly end in a happily ever after.
Some fans initially questioned whether or not leaving the Joker out of the Suicide Squad follow-up was the right call. After all, he is still a crucial part of Harley Quinn’s origin story -- and fans are used to seeing them together. But both Cathy Yan and Margot Robbie made it clear that Birds of Prey didn’t need to bring the Joker back to tell an exciting story. So it makes sense that Cathy Yan would want to ground the audience in footage from the film in which that story took place. But it’s also in a way that cleverly avoids bringing him directly into the film, so the film can stay focused on her and her perspective.
Thus far, that seems to have been the right decision. Reviews for Birds of Prey have been mostly positive, and have praised the film for being a fun, action-packed story of empowerment and revenge. The movie officially opens this coming Friday, February 7. ReelBlend's interview with Cathy Yan goes live Wednesday, February 5. In the meantime, check out CinemaBlend's interviews with the cast right here: