The shared and sprawling nature of the DC Extended Universe allows films the opportunity to feature references to all corners of DC Comics mythology, though audiences checking out Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) shouldn't expect to be overwhelmed by obscure references, even if Harley Quinn fanatics might notice a few nods that other viewers won't. While Harley made her live-action debut in 2016's Suicide Squad, this new film is set to offer the character a fresh start that doesn't require audiences to have seen previous DCEU movies, even if it doesn't exist in a vacuum of DC Comics mythology.
"I don't want to spoil too much," writer Christina Hodson shared with ComicBook.com at a press event for the film. "I would say this is definitely a standalone movie. We always wanted it to be a story that feels like its own thing, its own contained story that if you're a fan and you've seen some of the movies before, if you've already met Harley Quinn, but also if you're brand-new to this universe, you can also come in and feel perfectly at home here. As a fan myself, I would like to hopefully list it with some funny threads that people are gonna like. But yeah, we'll have to wait and see"
Dating back to Harley Quinn's debut in Batman: The Animated Series, her storyline has been intrinsically linked to The Joker. While many fans lauded actress Margot Robbie for her take on the character in Suicide Squad, one of the more criticized elements was the character's relationship with Jared Leto's Joker. Since the announcement of this new Birds of Prey, fans have wondered how much the film would reference the villain, with Robbie herself previously confirming the character has a presence, but never appears in the actual film.
While the name might tip viewers off to the idea that the new film will see Harley Quinn emancipated from some sort of incarceration, the title is also meant to symbolically represent emancipation from The Joker to allow her to become a fully realized character who isn't defined by an abusive partner.
The new film is a twisted tale told by Harley herself, as only Harley can tell it. When Gotham's most nefariously narcissistic villain, Roman Sionis, and his zealous right-hand, Zsasz, put a target on a young girl named Cass, the city is turned upside down looking for her. Harley, Huntress, Black Canary and Renee Montoya's paths collide, and the unlikely foursome have no choice but to team up to take Roman down.
Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) lands in theaters on February 7th.
Are you looking forward to the new film? Let us know in the comments below!