Like Batman v Superman before it, Suicide Squad opened to a mixed response from critics and fans alike. One thing (most) everyone agreed on, however, was Margot Robbie's take on Harley Quinn, the beloved Clown Princess of Crime. She really made the role her own, perfectly combining Harley's ditzy, gangster's moll persona with genuine character depth — even though she didn't get much of a chance to develop her role during the film.
With any luck, Robbie will get her chance in the spotlight in the solo Harley Quinn movie she pitched to Warner Bros. earlier this year, and which has now been greenlit by the studio, with Margot Robbie signing a "first look" deal. But with Suicide Squad 2 already confirmed, and as Suicide Squad experienced a 70% drop-off in viewing figures after opening weekend — not to mention a poor critical reception — there are rumblings that this Harley solo flick might not make it to the screen. Which would be a damn shame.
Of course, we might get both movies. If the financial success of Suicide Squad has proved nothing else — even with the drop-off, the movie raked in over $700 million worldwide — it's that this team is highly bankable. And with Harley Quinn taking her place as the fourth pillar of DC Comics, her comics sales outstripping Wonder Woman and Superman, there's no denying that this character is one of DC's great successes. But, as rumors circulate about Suicide Squad 2 being cancelled, it could come down to a fight between these two movies as to which gets made.
The World Needs A Harley Quinn Film
Ideally, both movies would be best, as Task Force X are a fascinating team, and deserve a movie that deals with their strange dynamic, and their constant struggle between morality and their own agendas. But if it we can only have one or the other — Harley's solo flick or the sequel — Harley's film is the far more interesting choice. And here's why.
Don't get me wrong, the Suicide Squad are great. But we've seen a lot of team-up movies lately, and we'll only be seeing more in the coming years, as the Justice League finally get together, and the Avengers re-form to fight Thanos. (Oh and there's the New Mutants and I guess the X-Men might get another movie?) What we haven't seen a lot of is solo movies based on semi-reformed anti-heroes, or even a straight up villain solo movie. With Harley Quinn, we'd get both of those things.
The fact is, Harley without the Joker is fascinating. Her slow journey away from him and towards her own autonomy was a high point of the New 52, and she still veers wildly between anti-hero and villain depending on which comic you read. As a villain, she's psychotic and ultra-violent, using her insanity to full effect. As an anti-hero she's endearing and hilarious, teaming up with heroes like Power Girl and Wonder Woman, and forming her own band of "Harleys".
But it's not just Harley's comic book history that has us excited about the idea of a solo film — Margot Robbie's pitch is also very intriguing, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The project is not a Quinn solo movie. Rather, it would focus on several of DC’s female heroes and villains. [...] Sources say that Robbie was the impetus for the project, adding that when she got the part for the movie, she dove deep into the comics to learn as much as possible about the character. In the process, she fell for DC’s female characters. She brought on the writer to help develop the project and brought it to Warners, which snapped it up.
A movie focused on Harley Quinn, and introducing some of DC's most iconic female heroes and villains? Heck yes, why is this not already a thing. Harley has worked with many other female villains in the comics, most notably the Gotham City Sirens, comprised of herself, Catwoman, and her girlfriend Poison Ivy.
It would be great to see these iconic characters in a heist movie, possibly clashing with female heroes like Batgirl and Black Canary. But supporting characters aside, the best reason for a Harley Quinn movie is Harley herself — and Suicide Squad set up the continuation of her story perfectly.
What Harley Did Next
Despite the clear focus on Harley and the Joker in Suicide Squad's marketing, the two took a back seat in the movie to Deadshot, who was the clear protagonist, with many of Jared Leto's scenes languishing on the cutting room floor.
That leaves plenty of Joker and Harley's story left to tell, from why she fell in love with a murderous psychopath in the first place (according to her New 52 Secret Origin, it's because she was always a psychopath herself), to his physical, emotional, and psychological abuse of her.
We just got a snapshot of their relationship in Suicide Squad, and while it was gloriously refreshing to see the Joker introduced as Harley's love interest, present in the story only to give some depth to her character, we could stand to dive deeper into this twisted love story. As long as the solo movie uses this to propel Harley away from her puddin'.
One of the reasons Harley has chimed with so many people is because her story exists as a survivor narrative, as she liberated herself from the man who did her wrong. That's not to say this path was easy, and she often relapsed. But it would be incredibly satisfying to see her go through this struggle onscreen, as she finally works out what she wants in life — that she wants to be bad just for the hell of it, and not to impress the Joker.
So what if she does all this, finds Poison Ivy and forges a relationship with her, and along with Catwoman they pull some of the greatest heists Gotham has ever seen. This could connect with the Suicide Squad to, perhaps as Task Force X is assembled once again to take down their former teammate — either during the Harley solo movie, or in Suicide Squad 2 if we get both.
The possibilities are endless, and it would be best if we could have both of these movies. But forced to choose, Harley is the far more interesting option, and here's hoping we get to see where her story takes her next.
Relive two of Margot Robbie's best roles at once in the video below...
...and tell us in the comments: Would you rather see Suicide Squad 2, or the Harley Quinn movie?