'Birds of Prey': Jurnee Smollett-Bell Cast as Black Canary

The upcoming Birds of Prey movie has officially found its songbird.

Jurnee Smollett-Bell has been officially cast as Dinah Lance/Black Canary in the upcoming DC Extended Universe film, according to new reporting.

Smollett-Bell is best known for her work on Underground, Friday Night Lights, and True Blood.

In the pages of DC Comics, Dinah is a highly-skilled martial artist, who has the ability to emit a very powerful sonic "Canary Cry". In addition to being one of the founding members of the Birds of Prey, she has served as a member of the Justice Society of America and Justice League, and frequently partners up with Oliver Queen/Green Arrow. In the over seventy years since her DC Comics debut, Black Canary has become one of DC Comics' most beloved female characters, appearing in animation, video games, and television.

This casting comes after quite a lot of names were rumored to play Black Canary, a role that fans have been wanting to see in the DCEU for quite some time. Vikings star Katheryn Winnick has been advocating for the role since 2016, and names like Vanessa Kirby, Blake Lively, Ana De Armas, and even Lady Gaga have all been tossed around for Birds of Prey. Most recently, Smollett-Bell and Gugu Mbatha-Raw were among the shortlist of actresses for the role.

Birds of Prey will see Black Canary joining up with Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), as well as Helena Bertinelli/Huntress, Cassandra Cain, and Renee Montoya, to take down the DC Comics villain Black Mask. Fans have hoped that the cast will contain diverse representation, something Robbie herself has campaigned for.

"Yep, yes exactly, real life isn't so one specific images," said Robbie. "We've got to reflect that onscreen."

"I pitched the idea of an R-rated girl gang film including Harley, because I was like, 'Harley needs friends.' Harley loves interacting with people, so don't ever make her do a standalone film," Robbie said in a previous interview. "She's got to be with other people, it should be a girl gang. I wasn't seeing enough girl gangs on screen, especially in the action space. So that was always a big part of it."

Birds of Prey will be directed by Cathy Yan, and produced by Robbie alongside Kroll & Co Entertainment's Sue Kroll and Clubhouse Pictures' Bryan Unkeless. A version of the script was penned by Bumblebee's Christina Hodson.

black canary

What do you think of Black Canary's Birds of Prey casting? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


Upcoming DC Extended Universe films include Aquaman on December 21st, Shazam on April 5, 2019, and Wonder Woman 2 on November 1, 2019.