Not so long ago, DC and Warner Bros. balked at the Arrow-verse and Gotham introducing a Harley Quinn character at the same time the Suicide Squad film came into existence. The reins aren't anywhere near as tight these days, to the extent that the recently retitled Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey is in theaters at the same time DC Universe's animated Harley Quinn is reaching the end of its first season. Understandably, Margot Robbie herself wondered how similar the projects would be to each other.
The way showrunners and creators Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker put it, though, it didn't take a whole lot of complicated convincing for Margot Robbie to realize that her live-action Harley Quinn was on a completely different wavelength than the animated villainess voiced by Big Bang Theory vet Kaley Cuoco. Here's Halpern and Schumacker's story about Robbie's visit to the studio.
Although one funny story is that when we were first beginning the show, DC and Geoff Johns had us meet with Margot Robbie, because I think she was interested in what we were doing with our Harley because I think she was genuinely curious and wanted to make sure their movie was different than ours. And I think at some point someone pitched out the part in Episode 2 where Harley breaks down a 13-year-old boy by making him admit he'd lied about fingerbanging someone. And Margot was like 'uh yeah yours seems different than ours.'
To be fair, 90% of Harley Quinn's scenes in DC Universe's R-rated streaming series would stand mutually exclusive from Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey in terms of that kind of content. Not to get into any spoilers for either project, but Cathy Yan's big-screen feature is almost completely devoid of sexually charged material, with its R rating coming largely due to the coarse language, over-the-top violence and some drug-related moments. It's not the kind of movie where Margot Robbie is talking to teens about their libidinous conquests.
She might be holding the disembodied hand of a 13-year-old boy at any given point, but there won't be any talking of fingerbanging or rubbing one out. Those conversations are strictly held for the DC Universe TV show, where they quite honestly feel right at home with a smorgasbord of other hilarious filth.
While answering fans' questions as part of a Reddit AMA, Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker confirmed that the show isn't officially bringing the Suicide Squad team into Harley Quinn, at least not in its first two seasons. And the reason, believe it or not, goes back to what was discussed earlier. In their words:
They're not in the first twenty six episodes, I can tell you that. When we first started working on Harley, that movie had just came out (insane how long animation takes) and we were kind of like, hmmm, let's not oversaturate. Little did we know our show wouldn't be finished for basically four years.
Amazingly enough, David Ayer's Suicide Squad was still a pop-cultural talking point when the Harley Quinn TV show was coming together, which was also before DC Universe went wide with its existence. Understandably, Halpern and Schumacker and the rest of the creative team didn't want to tire audiences out on those characters beyond Harley, so the Suicide Squad took a backseat. That said, one can easily read into the distinction that they're not in the first 26 episodes, since it lightly implies the villainous group might indeed get involved at some point after the 26 episodes have aired.
Those needing something to do this weekend and beyond should head to the theaters to see Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey, and flip on DC Universe to watch the animated adventures of Harley Quinn and her F-bombs on Fridays. The season finale will air on February 21.