Recently, I wrote this piece on Harley Quinn's easter egg appearance in Arrow, and spent a little time debating where else she may pop up in the live-action DCU. Well, after watching this behind-the-scenes special, I wonder if she may actually be appearing in the upcoming show, Gotham.
It's not just the refusal of DC to give Arrow free reign with the character that makes me think this is a possibility. It's that combined with a certain shot from the special, one that shows us a group of women in Fish Mooney's club, wearing some very recognizable costumes/colors.
On the face of it, that may seem to be a bit of a stretch - this is a prequel show, after all. We will be seeing the origin stories of Gotham's famous villains (and some new ones created for the show), and Harley Quinn just... doesn't have that kind of origin story. She only comes into play, is only created, through her interactions with the Joker, and after the Joker has already been incarcerated in Arkham. The Gotham story takes place before Batman, before the Joker, before any of these villains have become the people we know, so how on earth could Quinn fit into the story?
Well, for one thing, part of the point of the show is to create origin stories, to take the nuggets and ideas that are present in the comic books and develop them into full-fledged stories. Why not do that with a fan favorite like Harley? After all, she may not be Harley Quinn, but she's certainly alive somewhere - so why not give her a story that starts before her time as a psychiatrist?
It's something that I would love to see, and I actually think that if those costumed club girls were an easter egg, they may have found a really interesting angle to make it work. Here's why.
1. It Gives Us The Harley/Joker Dynamic
We already know that there is no one Joker cast for the show, instead there are multiple different possible Jokers created to keep the fans guessing. One of these Jokers (and the first one we meet) is a comedian performing at Fish Mooney's club. So let's consider; comedian and dancer, both working at the same club...could this be the way that the creators of the show can pay homage to Harley's relationship with the Joker? More than that, could this be a way to deepen the later relationship and explain why it was oh so easy for the Joker to manipulate Harley into insanity and devotion?
2. It Works With Her Existing Origin
Depending on which origin you look at, Harley is either nothing before she is an intern at Arkham, or a troubled girl from a very damaging family situation who chooses to become a psychiatrist. Either way, this is a character whose backstory can be thoroughly fleshed out, and that fits with the feel of the show. Why is she dancing at the club - and what kind of "dancing" is it? Is she struggling to get by, or possibly stripping to put herself through college? It wouldn't be the first time that a character in comic book mythology has become involved in the sex trade, and it would be a very adult story to balance out many of the characters as children.
3. Her Insane Criminal Makes More Sense
I much prefer the idea of a Harley who is already well on her way to being unhinged and is just tipped over the edge by Joker, rather than a complete good-girl-gone-bad entirely at his hands. Because of that, I really love the idea of a Harley who is already involved in the underworld to an extent. I would love to see her working at the club, figuring out who people in the criminal underworld are from behind the scenes (so to speak, given that she is on stage), starting to feel that that world is "normal". It makes far more sense that someone who has seen first hand the worst of [Gotham](series:1127075) would be likely to go over the edge because of it. It would also explain her familiarity with the underworld, and her comfort there.
4. It Creates An Explanation For Her Costumes
It's always been a little pet peeve of mine when superheroes and villains suddenly seem to be able to create amazing suits and costumes. I love the way that they look, but a part of my brain is always screaming "where did you GET that?!". So I would be doing backflips for joy if the show gave Harley a history as a dancer. Not only does that explain why she has a costume, but also why she has the ability to make more. It would also be really nice to see a character in a really bright costume - yes, it makes far more sense for vigilantes to be sneaking around in dark colors, but the comic book fan in me occasionally misses the bright colors.
5. It's Another Link To Arkham
Arkham is going to play a major part in the show, and while we won't be seeing Harley treating the Joker there, I would absolutely love to see her as an intern at the facility while still studying. It's another way to bring it into the show, and a great connection to make. It could also be an opportunity to see both sides of Quinn - as an idealistic student during the day, and as a dancer for the criminal underworld at night. Seeing both sides of her struggle for supremacy would be absolutely captivating.
Now, I know that there are still going to be naysayers (talking about comic book adaptations, when are there not?). One of the biggest criticisms leveled at the show so far is that the villains are far too old in comparison to Bruce Wayne, and that that would make no sense further down the line.
I, however, am more than happy to allow the show to be inspired by the books, rather than a direct interpretation of them. I really want to see what the writers come up with when it comes to origin stories, and I'm excited to see things that we have never seen before.
I think that a young Harley, torn between her desire to be a therapist and her awareness of the state of the city would be an absolutely epic story to add in, and could be hugely popular with the viewers. Given the plan to have multiple "possible" Jokers, could we even have multiple possible Harleys?
Of course, this is all pure speculation, and the dancers could be nothing more than background, and their costumes just to match the club, but isn't speculating one of the best parts of a fandom?
What do you think? Will we see Harley in Gotham, and if so, how will her story play out?