There is no official word on whether a Joker and Harley Quinn movie will impact any of the films currently on DC's development slate, but there is some circumstantial evidence that is interesting to consider.
Deadline originally reported that The Joker and Harley Quinn would serve as a replacement for Gotham City Sirens, but then withdrew that report, indicating that both films were in development.
Separately, Jeff Sneider from The Tracking Board tweeted, "RIP Gotham City Sirens, we hardly knew ye."
Sneider has not followed up the tweet, although he has not withdrawn or deleted it.
So what is going on?
We'll try and break it down for you...as much as we can.
Suicide Squad sequels
What films are at play here?
Well, there are a number of Bat-family movies currently in various stages of development.
There is reportedly a Nightwing film happening, Joss Whedon's Batgirl is presumably still a thing, The Batman (which may or may not star Ben Affleck and may or may not be part of the DC Extended Universe proper), and on and on.
The ones we will focus on here are the three that seem to be overlapping: Suicide Squad 2, Gotham City Sirens, and The Joker and Harley Quinn.
Suicide Squad 2 has gone through a number of rumored directors since it was revealed that Ayer would not be behind the camera, although nobody has yet signed on the dotted line. The cast, including superstars Will Smith (whose Deadshot is also rumored to have a spinoff planned at some point) and Robbie, will come back for the film, which will presumably pick up right where the last one left off.
Gotham City Sirens will reportedly center on Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn. The concept and title are drawn from a comic book series, and Ayer was attached to direct, the last we knew. Ayer was an interesting choice for Sirens, since feminist critics were not overwhelmed by Suicide Squad and both Wonder Woman (directed by Patty Jenkins) and DC's planned Batgirl (Joss Whedon) were developed with outspoken feminists at the fore. Still, with Robbie behind him and the studio seemingly happy with Suicide Squad's box office, there did not seem to be any danger that he would be ousted.
The Joker and Harley Quinn was just reported tonight; nobody really knows anything much about it, other than the fact that it reportedly will feature Leto's Joker and Robbie's Harley. The film could be a prequel, exploring the roots of their relationship, oir a sequel to Suicide Squad, since the movie's final scene involved The Joker breaking Harley out of jail.
The yet-titled film is reportedly being overseen by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa; The pair will co-direct the film and pen its script together following their recent success with NBC's This Is Us. The duo is also known for previous projects like Crazy, Stupid Love.prevnext
The rumor mill
In late July, a report surfaced that Warner Bros. was working to phase out Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice filmmaker Zack Snyder as well as Ayer, whose Suicide Squad was a big box office hit but was met with mixed-to-poor reviews, both from critics and audiences.
Ayer was originally attached to a second Suicide Squad film (at least that was the rumor) before leaving the project to helm Gotham City Sirens.
"It's a story about three fantastic women," Ayer explained, "who're trying to find their way in the world, and realize that they have more power together than they do individually." He added, "I have daughters, and I want to create something that might be able to help them get along in the world a little bit."
Without Ayer, Suicide Squad 2 has gone through numerous rumored directors, all while reportedly staying on track for a 2018 production start date.
A Joker and Harley movie, which seemed like a no-brainer, given that the two were likely the most marketable parts of Suicide Squad, had been briefly rumored before Gotham City Sirens came up, but then it appeared as though Harley's spinoff would be girl-power-fueled (a move that made even more sense in the wake of Wonder Woman's success).prevnext
What to make of it?
At present, it looks like Ayer's involvement with Gotham City Sirens is secure...but don't be surprised if only one of the two films makes it out of development and ends up with a green light.
Warner Bros. seems to be so anxious to develop DC properties into big-budget tentpoles that they are looking at all their options -- including Elseworlds-style "out of continuity" movies, numerous spinoffs of basically every successful property they create, and attaching big names like Martin Scorcese and Joss Whedon to projects very early in their development.
Compared to Marvel, who seem to have a very streamlined process and have only really announced one movie -- The Inhumans -- that never got made, Warner Bros.' scattershot approach to DC properties can be perplexing. Whether this latest torrent of rumors is the result of long-standing plans coming to fruition or new film chief Geoff Johns cleaning house as he makes way for what he wants to do next is not yet clear.
What is clear is that Batman and his associated brands remains at the heart of Warner Bros.' DC plan, and at present, there are a number of movies at various stages in development that tie directly into the mythology of the Dark Knight. Some of his most popular and recognizable friends and foes seem to be in development on as many tracks simultaneously as Batman himself, either because Warner wants to hedge their bets or because they see the value in developing multiple iterations of valuable properties at once.0comments
Whether The Joker and Harley Quinn will spell doom for Gotham City Sirens is as difficult ot guess right now as it is to suss out whether DC's stand-alone films are as a whole more analogous to a comic book reboot, or a multiverse/Elseworlds approach.
It seems likely these things will start to come into sharper focus shortly after Justice League hits theaters in November.prev