(Warning: The following contains potential - albeit entirely theoretical - plot SPOILERS for the upcoming third season of Fox's Gotham. Proceed with whatever level of caution your decision-making lucky coin suggests is wise...)
Now, with Gotham season three fast approaching, it's perhaps no real surprise that thoughts are starting to turn to the new villains we'll see introduced over the coming year. The show has, after all, never been shy about throwing classic Bat-villains into the mix, and there are still a whole lot of big hitters we're yet to see in the show. What's more, it seems that the recent box office success of Suicide Squad may have had an influence on the show's creative team's decision-making, since it sounds as though Squad members Killer Croc and Harley Quinn will be heading to Gotham in the near future. In fact...
We Might Already Know Who'll Be Playing Harley Quinn in Gotham
Y'see, in a recent interview with IGN, Gotham executive producer Ken Woodruff revealed that:
"You may have already seen Harley as a person that you thought you had met and known for a long time. So we always reserve the right to sort of do that as well..."
Which very much seems to suggest that Harley is less set to arrive on Gotham, and more about to emerge as a new persona for one of the character's we already know and love. The big question that raises, though?
Who's Going To Turn Out To Be Harley Quinn?
Well, as it turns out, there's one candidate who just so happens to stand out from the crowd. Y'see, over the past two seasons, a certain Barbara Kean (as played be Erin Richards) has evolved from moderately side-lined love interest with a murky past to a gloriously unhinged villain with a penchant for doing mildly ridiculous things in the name of criminal mayhem.
Want to read more about Gotham's gloriously ridiculous criminal mayhem? Try:
'Gotham' Just Dropped Its Biggest Joker Easter Egg Yet
Will Ben McKenzie Become Batman On 'Gotham'? SDCC Interview Suggests So
'Gotham' Producer Confirms The Return Of Cameron Monaghan As Jerome
In other words? She seems about as obvious a candidate to turn out to be Harley Quinn as you're ever likely to see. So much so, in fact, that here are:
The Top Five Reasons To Suspect That Barbara Kean Will Turn Out To Be Gotham's Harley Quinn
5. Kean Has Already Become Associated With 'The Joker'
After all, we've already Kean and 'proto-Joker' Jerome become somewhat involved, and with season three sure to expand on the show's flirtations with the Joker mythos, there's every chance that Kean could find herself a key part of that change. Executive producer John Stephens even hinted at the (inevitable) link between Harley's arrival and some variation on The Joker, noting that:
"We don’t want to give too much away but it will definitely be someone connected to the Joker cult world that we have set up."
Now, of course, many fans had hoped we'd see her become The Joker herself - but becoming an alternate take on Harley Quinn might actually be a little more up Kean's alley, anyhow. After all...
4. Kean Has Already Developed Several Of Harley's Core Personality Traits
As in, she's both wonderfully unhinged and extremely charismatic, with a penchant for ridiculous schemes... planned by equally unhinged (and often dominant) allies. Throw in a kick-ass harlequin costume and a few more puns, and she essentially already is Harley. Heck, if the show gives her a little more independence and chaotic agency, too, then it'll practically be like reading a Harley Quinn comic-book. Especially since...
3. Kean Is Openly Bisexual, An Important Element Of Harley's Comic-Book Identity
Now, despite the show's Poison Ivy seemingly being substantially 'aged up' for season 3, there's a pretty good chance that any Kean/Ivy romance (as seen - and loved by fans - in the comic-books) would be both fundamentally creepy and massively illegal. That being said, though, it seems that Gotham is going deep with its shifting of Ivy from a pre-pubescent kid to a 19-year old grown adult, so who knows? We might just get to watch the two develop a deeply disturbing relationship that pointedly ignores the fact that Ivy is technically still a child... and that still probably won't be the weirdest thing that Gotham throws at us that week. Also worth noting?
2. Kean Has Already Fundamentally Diverged From Her Comic-Book Inspiration
Or, in other words, there's really not a whole lot of comic-book precedent that Kean becoming Harley would disrupt. Now, sure, it'd be a shame to lose Dr. Harleen Quinzel from the show's diverged canon, but with so much else having been changed already, it wouldn't be all that tough of an adjustment. Plus, it sure would give Kean one hell of a kick-ass, weird-as-hell plot arc. After all...
1. Kean Becoming Harley Is Exactly The Sort Of Magnificently Weird Twist That Gotham Loves
Jim Gordon's ex-girlfriend and burgeoning serial-killer becoming Harley Quinn, and then possibly dating a supernaturally-aged Poison Ivy? That sounds like just about the most Gotham thing to ever Gotham its way into Gotham. Which means...
It sounds like Erin Richards should probably start brushing up on some of Harley's greatest moments...
What do you reckon, though?