Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn was one of the few aspects of David Ayer’s Suicide Squad that received anything resembling universal praise, with both critics and fans in agreement that the Australian actress’ performance was one of the movie’s undoubted highlights. The character proved so popular, in fact, that a spinoff was announced soon after, with Robbie also stepping into the role of producer on director Cathy Yan’s upcoming Birds of Prey.
While the movie will only tangentially link to the larger DCEU, there’s one major character that won’t feature in Birds of Prey, and that’s the Joker. The future of the Clown Prince of Crime is a little murky at the moment, with Jared Leto’s unpopular portrayal seemingly making him persona non grata with DC and Warner Bros., while Joaquin Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck led the standalone Joker to billion-dollar success and a major awards season push.
In a recent interview, Robbie went into more detail about how Mr. J, or a lack thereof, factors into Birds of Prey. And the Academy Award nominee seems keen to explore what happens to a character like Harley Quinn without having the Joker constantly be at her side.
“The first film, her relationship with Joker always did confuse me the most. That was the thing that took me the longest to get my head around. In this film though, we’re exploring her not being with Joker. And I actually understand the break-up. That’s something I feel like everyone can kind of understand and relate to in some ways… I understand the motivation that spurred on that train of thought.”
With Birds of Prey set to be an R-rated caper with a talented ensemble cast, it isn’t as if the movie is going to exclusively focus on Harley’s relationship woes. Without the Joker though, she’s free to act of her own accord, which could be one of the driving forces of the entire narrative. However, Robbie did admit that the green-haired psycho will still hold some sort of power over her.
“I think something I explored a lot in Suicide Squad, the first film, was Harley’s co-dependence with the Joker. And obviously, he has a huge influence on her. But, obviously, she was very much in a relationship with him when we first saw Harley onscreen in Suicide Squad. And I did want to explore what is the version of Harley out of a relationship, and whether she’s out of a relationship on her own accord or he’s kind of kicked her to the curb. But it still affects her, but in a very different way. And I thought we’d see a very different facet of her personalities. Personalities, I would say. Because I would say she has multiple.”
Following some behind-the-scenes trouble, that saw John Wick’s Chad Stahelski direct extensive reshoots after the studio was reportedly unhappy with an early version of the movie, Birds of Prey has now won DC and Warner Bros. back over, with the latest installment in the resurgent DCEU being predicted by many to be one of 2020’s first breakout hits.