The DC Extended Universe has evolved in some interesting ways over the past several years, and few of the franchise's upcoming projects arguably hammer that home quite like Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn).
The upcoming Warner Bros. film took the nerd world by surprise in early February, when it dropped a brief teaser video of the film's costume tests. All at once, fans got a look at a new side of Suicide Squad's Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) as well as a slew of new takes on beloved DC Comics characters.
Granted, the film is currently several months into production, so a lot of details surrounding the project still remain a mystery. But if you've been wondering more about the cast of characters in Birds of Prey, and what to potentially expect in the film, we're here to help. Read on to find out who's who in the film's ensemble, how the film paves its own way in the
Yes, you read that right; the film is (at least for now) titled Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). The title, which was revealed by Robbie when she shared a photo of the film's script, certainly caught fans' eyes for a good reason.
"I love a long
As it turns out, the title was actually originally crafted by the film's screenwriter, Christina Hodson, although she wasn't expecting it to actually be used.
"It was an unofficial aka, when I wrote the
While the plot of Birds of Prey is still largely unknown aside from a series of potential details leaked last October, there already is some indication of where the story could be headed.
One of the earliest details reported about the film has been that it will begin with Harley breaking up from the Joker (Jared Leto). While that particular nugget hasn't been officially confirmed, a lot of context clues have certainly supported it, from the Fantabulous Emancipation subtitle to set photos showing Harley having crossed out her Joker-related tattoos to the fact that a Harley-Joker spinoff has been put on hold.
From there, the film is expected to see Harley teaming up with an array of DC female characters as they join forces to rescue a young girl from an evil crime boss. (More on those other characters in a bit.)
“I pitched the idea of an R-rated girl gang film including
This serves as its own sort of twist on the Birds of Prey comics, which follow an ensemble of DC Comics heroines -- traditionally Oracle, Black Canary, and Huntress -- teaming up in Gotham City. While the team has had a pretty rotating roster in the comics over the years, Harley has only sporadically crossed paths with the team, which largely plunges the film into its own narrative territory.
The film is also expected to be set in a different version of Gotham than what's previously been seen in the
Starring alongside Robbie in the film are Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who will be bringing to life two iconic members of the Birds of Prey team.
Smollett-Bell (Underground, True Blood) will be playing Dinah Lance/Black Canary, a street fighter who traditionally has a metahuman "Canary cry" in the comics. The earliest looks at Smollett-Bell's version of the character appear to be drawing inspiration from Brendan Fletcher and Annie Wu's Black Canary comic run, which depicted the character as the frontwoman of a rock band.
Winstead (Fargo, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) will be playing Helena Bertinelli/Huntress, who has been described as a "former mafia princess" who becomes a vigilante after she sees her family killed at a young age. While Huntress has had several different comic origins over the years, it's clear that her big-screen debut will keep some things consistent -- including her iconic crossbow.
“I’m going to start training, and I’ll be learning how to shoot a bow and arrow, too — which is new for me," Winstead revealed shortly after being cast.
Despite early reports suggesting otherwise, there is currently no confirmation that the final member of the Birds of Prey comic trifecta -- Barbara Gordon/Batgirl -- will be making an appearance in the film. But with Hodson also penning the Batgirl solo film, and a "Birds vs. Sirens" trilogy rumored to be considered by the studio, fans are certainly curious to find out how the two projects could end up connecting.
Also factoring into Birds of Prey in a major way are two other fan-favorite female characters: Renee Montoya and Cassandra Cain.
Rosie Perez (White Men Can't Jump, Fearless) will play Renee, an openly lesbian detective on the Gotham City PD. In the comics, Renee ultimately becomes a superhero in her own right when she takes on the mantle of The Question, although it's currently unclear where her big-screen storyline will go.
Ella Jay Basco (Veep, Teachers) will play Cassandra, the young woman who becomes the focus of the Birds' protection. In the comics, Cassandra is the daughter of David Cain and Lady Shiva, who was raised from an early age to be a mute, highly trained assassin. Eventually, she takes on the mantle of Batgirl while living with Barbara Gordon, before she passed the mantle on Stephanie Brown. Cassandra then operates under the mantle of Black Bat, before eventually settling into the superhero name of Orphan.
This marks the first big-screen role for Basco, who is the niece of Hook and Avatar: The Last Airbender star Dante Basco.
And on the antagonist side of things, two fan-favorite actors will be helping bring notable DC Comics villains to life within the film.
Ewan McGregor (Fargo, Star Wars) will be playing Roman Sionis/Black Mask, a Gotham crime boss
While he will be making his big-screen debut in Birds of Prey, Sionis has been teased in the
Chris Messina (The Mindy Project, Sharp Objects) will be playing the latest portrayal of Victor Zsasz, a fan-favorite Batman villain who carves tally marks into his skin for every person he kills. When Messina was cast, it was revealed that his version of Zsasz would be working for Black Mask, although set videos seem to hint at him possibly having an alliance with the Birds as well.
Birds of Prey will be directed by Cathy Yan, a former journalist who made her feature
"I immediately loved the script and it felt like something I could really do, and it felt very much like my own
“It came out of me,” said Yan about her pitch meeting to Warner Bros., “I have never done any of these things and I asked my agents for examples to get a better sense: I put together a pitch deck and also assembled a sizzle reel. But I would say it wasn’t like a lot of other sizzle reels which reference other films that remotely feel like your film. I find those to be rather pointless. But I created my own version that thematically and tonally conveyed what you would feel (in my movie).”
“It's always fun introducing audiences to a new character,” Hodson told ComicBook.com last year. “It's great doing a deep dive
Other actors who have joined Birds of Prey are Ali Wong (American Housewife), Robert Catrini (Jack Reacher: Never Go Back), Michael Masini (Dynasty), and Charlene Amoia (How I Met Your Mother), the latter of whom will be playing Helena's mother.
The crew for Birds of Prey also includes cinematographer Matthew Libatique (who was recently nominated for an Oscar for A Star Is Born), stunt coordinator Jonathan Eusebio, and fight coordinator Jon Valera, both of whom have worked on John Wick and Black Panther.
While Birds of Prey might be paving new narrative ground, the cast and crew have already hinted that it will serve as a sort of love letter to what fans are used to the comics.
"It’s really fun and
As it is, fans have already gotten some insight into those DC Comics teases, namely in the form of various stylistic cues and Easter eggs. Harley's first costume for the film has a nod to Harley co-creator Bruce Timm (and possibly Poison Ivy), and a series of set photos from the project have hinted that her pet hyenas just might appear as well.0comments
Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) will land in theaters on February 7, 2020. Other upcoming DC films include Shazam on April 5th, Joker on October 10th, Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5, 2020, The Batman on June 25, 2021, The Suicide Squad on August 6, 2021, and Aquaman 2 on December 16, 2022.