The Suicide Squad: How James Gunn and Margot Robbie Got a New Take on Harley Quinn

In just a matter of weeks, audiences are going to be treated to The Suicide Squad, and it's safe to assume that it'll leave them with a whole new outlook on the DC universe. The film, which is written and directed by James Gunn, will feature an unexpected mixture of characters from across DC Comics, including a few who have previously appeared in other installments. Among them is Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, who will be making her third onscreen appearance following 2016's Suicide Squad and 2020's Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). As the marketing material for The Suicide Squad has shown, the film will bring yet another step in the evolution of Robbie's Harley — something that Gunn dived into during a recent press event attended by ComicBook.com.

"Well, to me, a lot of these characters are pretty much blank slates," Gunn explained. "Weasel doesn't have a lot of backstory or 300 issues of comic books to say who he is, and I changed him completely. He's basically a walking Greyhound. So, some of these characters I didn't... it's kind of like Bloodsport in the comics is. He doesn't have a great amount of story about his life or who he is. And so, to me, he's almost like Edward Money from Unforgiven. So I'm recreating some of these characters for the movies."

"But to me, Paul Dini's original take on Harley is fantastic, and she's been an incredibly well-written character in the animated movies and the comics," Gunn continued. "And so, it was about being true to who she innately is as a character. She, to me, belongs on the wall besides Spider-Man and Superman and Wonder Woman and Captain America. She's one of those characters that sings and has a personality. And so, it was about being able to fully translate that to a motion picture. And also see her grow and make what, for her, are healthy choices, which to a normal person, some of her choices in the movie may seem absolutely insane, but for her, they're growth. Coming from a very, very, very toxic relationship and wanting to put an end to those types of things for herself. So I think that's really what it was, just trying to give her the full life of the chaotic trickster on screen and letting her be every inch Harley Quinn that the world deserves."

This echoes comments that Robbie previously made to ComicBook.com, with the actress revealing that The Suicide Squad will show a new and meaningful angle to her characterization.

"You get to see another side of Harley [in The Suicide Squad]," Robbie explained to ComicBook.com in 2020. "It's interesting. You keep getting to meet her at different points in her life, as if a couple of years have gone by. Of course, the films aren't directly connected, but as an actor, I can map it out in a chronological sense. So, it's fun to see 'Okay, what was she like a couple of years ago when she was with Mister J?' 'What is she like now, after they've broken up? And what is she going to be like in another couple of years' time?' I love seeing her at these different stages of her life."

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The Suicide Squad is set to be released both in theaters and on HBO Max on August 6th.