Comic book adaptations are notoriously hard to pull off. You have to create a movie that newcomers can understand, while still appealing to fans who’ve followed the series for years. Birds of Prey is no different -- and it looks like this time, even one of the comics’ writers has weighed in on what did and didn’t work. And she shared her one major gripe with how the film uses its characters.
Gail Simone penned Birds of Prey for DC Comics from 2003 to 2007 -- so she has an intimate understanding of the characters and how they operate within their world. In a lengthy Twitter thread posted on February 7, she opened up about how she feels about Warner Bros.’ film:
To be fair, Gail Simone made it very clear that she has an “unusual pov” of the film, because she was “fiercely protective” of the characters when she was writing the series. She said she fought against any “off-model” portrayals of the Birds of Prey girls, even if they occurred in crossover issues. Gail Simmons said that she’s carried that protectiveness with her and, because of that, she understands when fans want adaptations to be like the comics.
She then revealed that when she saw some of the “initial stuff” from the Birds of Prey film, she was not thrilled -- because it didn’t feel like the series she loved so deeply. After delving into how difficult it can be to make a “comics-accurate” film -- because the series themselves can feel static, even when the characters are elastic -- she said she was grateful that the finished product was “more in line” with what she’d hoped for.
Gail Simone’s Twitter thread delved, in depth, into many of the grievances fans have expressed about Birds of Prey, including the exclusion of Barbara Gordon. But she also explained her own personal misgivings, including the character she felt was most different from their comic book counterparts:
The writer made it clear that after years of writing Birds of Prey, and given the way Cassandra Cain has evolved over the years, she’d hoped to see more of the girl she loved in the film adaptation:
Ultimately, though, Gail Simone conceded that even she had struggled to get Cassandra Cain right at first:
And finally, Gail Simone addressed fan complaints about Black Canary’s costume and characterization in the Birds of Prey film. She made an intriguing point -- that not all comic book stories are good stories, that the girls in Birds of Prey have been subjected to poor characterization on the page as well:
Ultimately, Gail Simone’s analysis of Birds of Prey is a necessary one, because it reveals how many factors go into making a successful adaptation -- and why it can be so hard to please everyone. Birds of Prey is in theaters now.
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