We need to talk about Harley Quinn. From her humble beginnings as an animated sidekick to one of the most enduring and iconic comic-book villains in history, this psychotic psychiatrist has carved out a significant place in our chest cavities. Hearts, I mean hearts.
Looking at sales figures for DC Comics, Harley regularly places in the top five highest selling DC characters, with only Batman and Justice League titles ahead of her. And now, of course, she’s the poster-girl for DC’s latest cinematic offering; Suicide Squad. Even more amazingly, Warner Bros. have greenlit a solo movie for her before Suicide Squad has even come out! And that is what I am here to talk to you about today.
What do we want from this movie? Let’s leave aside that Warner Bros. are unlikely to heed our rabid demands and just shoot for the moon!
6. The Costume
I think we all know to which costume I am referring here. A long time ago (1992), Harley Quinn first appeared on our screens as the Joker’s sidekick in Batman: The Animated Series, dressed in (appropriately enough) a red and black harlequin costume with an attached jester’s cap. This is the most classically recognisable version of her costume, but it’s been confirmed we won’t see it in Suicide Squad.
I’m not saying that she should wear it for the whole movie, but as a nod to the heritage of the character, it’d be great to see a scene or two of Margot Robbie kicking some butt in that slinky little number. It could even be done as a throwaway gag when she’s looking for a costume to wear, like a postmodern and culturally aware satirical makeover montage.
Let’s be honest, we’re all a little susceptible to a bit of blatant fan-service when it’s done well!
5. Harley’s Mallet
Aside from the iconic costume, the other instantly recognisable feature of Harley Quinn’s ensemble is her enormous mallet, Beatrice. This has been with her in every incarnation of the character, and it’s an integral part of her fighting style. And just the way that she is.
I’ve heard calls from hard-core Harley Quinn fans that the Suicide Squad incarnation’s candy-cane baseball bat is a letdown compared to the presence and force projected by a big freakin’ hammer! I can picture the scene now: Harley facing off against the movie’s big bad (whomever that might be) and then stepping aside to reveal her gigantic mallet, which she then easily hefts with a big grin and a wink.
A fight scene with Harley going head-on against a mob of assassins using her gymnastics skills and Beatrice would top nearly any fight scene since The Matrix.
4. Conner/Palmiotti Story
Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti are veterans of the comics industry, with such titles as Deadpool, Painkiller Jane and Power Girl under their collective belts. So it comes as no surprise that their Harley Quinn trade paperbacks have regularly featured on the New York Times bestseller list for graphic hardcover books. This take on Harley is extremely pop-culture savvy and has a whiff of Deadpool about her.
As we’re talking about a solo film, it makes sense that our protagonist should stand on her own two feet. A major part of Conner and Palmiotti’s run on Harley Quinn is that she breaks off ties with her long-time beau, the Joker. This version of Harley Quinn is a more modern and liberated woman than previous incarnations and seems like a good fit for a movie. Now I’m sure some people will complain that the Joker is a major part of Harley’s backstory, but let’s face it: they’re already covering that in Suicide Squad.
I personally think that having a clean break from Joker will allow Harley to spread her wings and define her own character, and Hot in the City provides a multitude of enemies and background characters to fill out the cast.
3. Bernie the Beaver
So, following on from the Conner/Palmiotti entry, Bernie the Beaver is an addition to the cast of Harley Quinn who might at first seem a little incongruous to the uninitiated; a charred taxidermied talking beaver? But let’s not forget that our dear Dr. Quinn is more than slightly unhinged. Bernie is something of a confidante to Harley, listening to her problems and concerns and occasionally offering advice.
As you might imagine, of course, nobody but Harley can hear him, which suggests that it’s all in her head and acts as a nice reminder that we are watching an actually insane character. Backed up by Harley’s menagerie of “liberated” animals, or even her pet hyenas Bud and Lou, you could have an entire animal cast that would add plenty of depth and humour to the film. Voice-wise, I’m thinking maybe Gilbert Gottfried or John Dimaggio would do an amazing job.
2. DC character cameos
Harley Quinn is something of a social butterfly, so it makes sense that she might bump into a friend or two during her adventures. There’s a multitude of colourful characters to choose from: Poison Ivy, Catwoman, her Suicide Squad compadres… There’s always something a little thrilling about characters from other properties showing up in comic book movies, and Harley Quinn has quite the little black book.
If it was me making the call, I’d go for Poison Ivy; there’s a lot of chemistry there and potentially (if W.B. were feeling brave enough) a romantic love interest? I mean, it’s not like it isn’t right there in the comics; or heavily hinted at, anyway. Maybe Harley Quinn could be the comic book movie that pushes the boundaries! And as for casting, I’m thinking Alexandra Breckenridge would be a good fit for Poison Ivy.
1. R-Rating or Equivalent
After the frankly disappointing news that Suicide Squad is rated PG-13, I really really really want WB to suck it up and make Harley’s first solo outing a more mature affair. Fox have proved it can be done with Harley’s Marvel soulmate, Deadpool, the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time. And I’m not necessarily talking about nudity or gore, but dark humour, adult jokes and gratuitous violence would not be out of place.
Given the right director (I’d like Tim Miller but that’s not going to happen) and a good script (Palmiotti has written for TV and video games, so it wouldn’t be that huge a stretch for a character he’s intimately familiar with), Harley Quinn could be a huge goldmine for both DC and Warner Bros.
I’m thinking of a film in the same vein as Deadpool but with a distinctly different story and direction. Try to tell me I’m wrong, but you know I’m not.
So there we have it, six things I’d like to see from the Harley Quinn solo movie. Of course, we’ll have to wait and see how Suicide Squad pans out. But as a fan I would love to see some or all of these things in the movie. The real question is, what do you think? Did I miss anything? Do you disagree with my choices? Do you think I’m a genius? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!