Birds Of Prey: Everything We Know About Harley Quinn's Return To the DC Universe
While the 2016 DC movie Suicide Squad was a big box office success, it wasn't exactly met with a warm reaction from critics and fans. With a rushed production, extensive reshoots, and a behind-the-scenes battle over the film's tone, the results were a muddled mix of comedy, thrills, and superhero action; despite the commercial results, it's telling that DC have chosen to reboot Suicide Squad rather than make a direct sequel. Nevertheless, there was one element that many fans could agree worked, and that was Margot Robbie's portrayal of Harley Quinn.
Will Smith and Jared Leto might have taken top billing as Deadshot and Joker, but it was Robbie that stole the show. She perfectly captured Harley's playful mix of innocence, intelligence, and homicidal lunacy, and delivered the defining on-screen portrayal of this iconic DC villain. So it was no surprise when it was reported that Robbie was set to return to the role. Despite rumors that we might get a direct Suicide Squad sequel--or even a Joker and Harley movie--in September 2018 it was confirmed that Harley's next appearance would be in Birds of Prey.
This all-female vigilante superhero team first appeared in DC's comic books 1996; it started as a team-up between Black Canary and Oracle (aka Barbara Gordon), but soon expanded to include a variety of other members. While there was a short-lived Birds of Prey TV show in the early 2000s, almost no one remembers this, making a new big screen version an exciting prospect. With an impressive cast, screenwriter, and director, hopes are high that the movie will deliver the dark laughs, wild action, and eye-popping visuals suggested by the promotional material so far.
So here's everything we know so far about Birds of Prey--or to give the movie its full title, Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)...
When is Birds of Prey released?
Birds of Prey hits theaters on February 7, 2020.
What's with that title?
In November 2019 it was announced that the movie actually had a much longer title than expected: Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). This was revealed via a picture of the script's cover, and was initially presumed to be a pastiche of the title of 2014's Oscar-winning movie Birdman (Or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).
In an interview with Movie Fone, Margot Robbie explained the reasons for the lengthy name. "It's not a very serious movie, so we thought the title should reflect that," she said. "Like, Birds of Prey makes it sound very serious, and [the subtitle is] kind of like Harley adding her, like, 'Hey, don't worry. I'm in this too.'"
Who's in the gang?
Birds of Prey has an impressive cast. The star is, of course, Margot Robbie, who will reprise her role as Harley Quinn from 2016's Suicide Squad. The rest of the cast includes Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim, 10 Cloverfield Lane) as Huntress, Jurnee Smollett-Bell (True Blood) as Black Canary, Rosie Perez (The Dead Don't Die, Do The Right Thing) as Renee Montoya, Ella Jay Basco (Veep) as Cassandra Cain, Ewan McGregor (Star Wars, Doctor Sleep) as Black Mask, and Chris Messina (Sharp Objects) as Victor Zsasz.
Who's the director?
The director of Birds of Prey is Cathy Yan. This will be Yan's second movie, following her acclaimed 2018 drama Dead Pigs. She is the first Asian woman to helm a US superhero movie. In an interview last year, Yan spoke about why she was the right person for the job. "I immediately loved the script and it felt like something I could really do," she said. "It felt very much like my own voice. I could not put the script down, it had so much dark humor to it which a lot of my work does, and there are themes of female empowerment which are so strong and relatable."
Who's the writer?
The screenplay for Birds of Prey is by Christina Hodson. The British screenwriter also penned last year's Transformers spin-off Bumblebee and has been attached to another two upcoming DC movies--the long-delayed Flash movie and a Batgirl film. In an interview with Total Film, Hodson explained that Margot Robbie had spoken to her about writing Birds of Prey before Suicide Suqad had even been released. "She's a comic book fan," Hodson said about Robbie. "Obviously, you know, it's not a traditional team-up. So then it was about finding fun, inventive ways of doing that. Warners were very supportive in terms of letting me go off-leash."
What's the story?
The trailer doesn't give away too much about the main plot, but we do know that Harley has now split up from Joker, moved on from the Suicide Squad, and teamed up with the new all-female gang. They come into conflict with crime boss Roman Sionis, AKA Black Mask. It has been rumored that the story revolves around Black Mask's attempts to retrieve a diamond stolen from him by Cassandra Cain--we'll find out for sure in February.
Birds of Prey is set to join Logan, Deadpool, and Joker in having an R-rating, as opposed to the PG-13 that most comic book movies carry. In May 2018, Robbie described how she intended the movie to be an "an R-rated girl gang film," and she subsequently confirmed the plans for the rating in an interview this June.