Trying to plot the future of the DC Films Universe is about as difficult as trying to plot a course to a new solar system, because at least in the case of space travel, there's still a star map to follow. Whatever is going on at Warner Bros. in the post-Justice League era, it seems about as chaotic as the time in the late 2000s, when WB was first trying launch a DC shared movie universe, only to have it implode before it ever got off the ground.
There's a particularly thick amount of confusion surrounding two characters in the DC Films Universe: Joker and Harley Quinn. Joker will be split into two roles: Jared Leto will continue playing his version of the Joker in Suicide Squad 2 and possibly some other films; meanwhile, Joaquin Phoenix is reportedly up for the role of Joker in a standalone origin film from The Hangover's Todd Phillips. Meanwhile, Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn was reportedly being considered for several DC Films projects, including Suicide Squad 2, her own spinoff with Joker, or even a DC female villains team film, Gotham City Sirens, which had Suicide Squad director David Ayer attached.
While all this is going on, the female heroes of Gotham City have been circling their own big blockbuster film debut. Joss Whedon was supposed to do a Batgirl movie, but ultimately dropped out. While Batgirl is getting a solo movie written by Christina Hodson (Transformers: Bumblebee), the character will reportedly first appear in a Birds of Prey movie - a DC property that follows a team of Gotham City female heroes, like Batgirl, Black Canary and Huntress.
However, the latest report is that Birds of Prey will be looking to put both Batgirl and Harley Quinn center stage, and that got us thinking: do we really need both a Gotham City Sirens and Birds of Prey movie? Or would it be a stronger bet to merge the two?
Heroes + Villains
Both films would ultimately be built on the notion of showcasing only one side of superhero equation, and would need to be balanced out by the missing hero/villain component. However, combining the two concepts together instantly fixes the lack in both, and creates a major "event" for the film to build on.
Batgirl and Harley Quinn are clearly a good linchpin for this concept. Based on what we know of DC Extended Universe history, Batgirl and Harley could spend a good deal of the film violently clashing over a tragic piece of history: Joker's murder of Robin. Depending on the details get filled in, Batgirl could have a burning need to avenge Robin - primarily by taking down Harley Quinn. Meanwhile, depending on the time period, a post-Suicide Squad Harley could be working under some kind of redemptive motivation for her former life as Joker's girl, only to have the past come back and haunt her in the form of a furious Batgirl.
Girls vs. Boys
The reason why the scenario laid out above would work particularly well, is that it would offer a great thematic line, specifically tailored for this female-led film. The interesting (and often unexamined) connection between Batgirl and Harley Quinn, is that they're two young women who were independently smart and capable, only to wind up under the tutelage and instruction of two men who each have serious personal issues, including how they emotionally neglect and/or torment their respective female apprentices.
A movie examining themes like what it means to be a "bad girl" versus a "good girl" - and what a "bad girl" and "good girl" can learn from one another, beyond their respective stereotypes - is a perfectly timely and relevant discourse to be having. At the risk of being presumptuous, it's also thematic richness that a writer like Hodson could really sink her teeth into and make the most of.
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
Last but not least, combining the Birds of Prey and Gotham City Sirens concepts would offer a unique opportunity for a truly fun female-centric comic book movie. The interplay between an uptight Batgirl and a zany, wild, Harley would be a great 'odd pair' concept, but add in characters like Huntress, Catwoman, Poison Ivy or Canary, and the range of clashing personalities (on each respective team, and in the inevitable hero/villain team-up) would make for one of the best overall female ensemble blockbusters that we've seen this side of Ocean's 8.
Do you think Gotham City Sirens and Birds of Prey would work better as one combined movie? Or do you need both? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
Justice League is now on home video. The DCEU continues with Aquaman on December 21, Shazam on April 5, 2019, Wonder Woman 2 on November 1, 2019, Cyborg in 2020, and Green Lantern Corps in 2020. Birds of Prey is reportedly being fast-tracked, with Suicide Squad 2 possibly shooting right afterward.