It’s a good time to be a fan of the DC Comics Universe – the femme fatales and brutal heroines, in particular. Not only was Harley Quinn the brightest spot of director David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, but the character is set to anchor a brand new movie series of her own, alongside classic Bat-villains Poison Ivy and Catwoman in Gotham City Sirens. But as details on that film’s production have been released, clearing up months of speculation and rumors, we’ve found ourselves a bit confused by some apparently conflicting reports.
Back when the Margot Robbie-produced Sirens was still being referred to as an unnamed, not-yet-greenlit movie starring some fan-favorite DC women, one report characterized the project in question as partly a Birds of Prey film. But now that Sirens has been revealed to be the actual title of Robbie’s film, with a completely different screenwriter attached and no mention of the trio of heroines, we have to wonder: just what happened to the Birds of Prey’s big screen plan?
Here are the facts: not long after Suicide Squad hit theaters, plans were set in motion to develop a film placing a greater focus on Harley Quinn, with Margot Robbie executive producing and starring alongside a selection of other DC women (likely villains). That smoke led to the very real fire of Gotham City Sirens, coming from writer Geneva Robertson-Dworet (Tomb Raider) and quite possibly casting Megan Fox as the DCEU’s Poison Ivy.
But as easy as it might be to combine these mysterious pieces into a Sirens puzzle and be done with it, the reports of a Birds of Prey movie go back much farther. The film starring the infamous team of Black Canary, Batgirl, Huntress and countless others over the years may have been twisted into Harley Quinn’s spinoff film by one or more outlets, but there’s some compelling evidence to suggest DC fans could have yet another female-led ensemble film to look forward to in the near future.
For starters, the reports of Sirens being mentioned alongside the “Birds of Prey” did give some pause, ourselves included. Mainly because a film starring Harley Quinn and a handful of other Gotham villains has… well, nothing to do with DC’s Birds of Prey. The team may be made up of women, sure, but ask any DC fan and they’ll tell you that the franchise began with the teaming-up of Batgirl and Black Canary for specifically heroic purposes. Unless Harley Quinn would somehow convince these heroes to allow a convicted murderer into their club, it’s hard to see the logic.
Again, the reports at the time flat-out referred to the film as “the Harley Quinn/Birds of Prey spinoff movie,” which – to those familiar with comic continuity – seems like two very different properties rolled into one. Especially now that Harley’s film now bears the title of the famed femme fatales being teased by David Ayer. And not to state the obvious, but introducing Batgirl – Barbara Gordon, former sidekick to Batman who was once paralyzed by Joker – as a backup character in a Harley Quinn movie seems… well, an odd choice.
Stranger still are the rumors that DC was looking to cast Dinah Lance a.k.a. Black Canary to debut in a Justice League cameo ahead of the Birds of Prey movie (before the Squad hit theaters). And even more recently, the news also said Birds of Prey film would be getting a script from Christina Hodson, three-time Black List screenwriter and scribe of the upcoming Transformers spinoff, Bumblebee.
But when the details of Robbie and Ayer’s Sirens deal were revealed, neither Black Canary nor Hodson were even mentioned – supremely strange, if they were so swiftly dismissed without so much as a whisper among Hollywood insiders.
We arrive, then, at a few possibilities. First, that the insider reports of a film following the Birds of Prey (Batgirl, Black Canary, and Huntress in the modern DC era) and hopes of casting at least one for Justice League were misinformed, or scrapped. On the other hand, it’s possible two entirely separate films were accidentally combined, described as a “Harley Quinn/Birds of Prey” movie instead of movies. Finally, and most interestingly, the “Harley Quinn/Birds of Prey movie” rumors could be even more accurate than fans realize.
Will the working title prove true, seeing Harley, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy square off against Batgirl, Black Canary, and Huntress – with the Gotham City Sirens name referring to the whole group? In one hypothetical sequence of events, it makes a great deal of sense: Warner Bros. has hopes for a Birds of Prey film but is unsure about launching a franchise from scratch. Harley Quinn emerges as the star of Suicide Squad, with Margot Robbie pushing to produce a film focusing on more DC women. Would the studio executives be clever enough to combine their two problems into one, casting the Birds as antagonists to Harley’s villainous trio? In the process, opening yet another spinoff door for a Birds of Prey film (with a screenwriter already on board).
The only catch would be that Harley, Catwoman, and Ivy would be the presumed leads of the film, but actually acting as villains to their rivals, the heroes. That’s a concept uniquely familiar to David Ayer, having so recently pitted villains against… supervillains to some success (not critical, but box office). It’s just our theory, but it’s one that would deal with the demand for more women in comic book movies in a big way – while working from a story, not marketing perspective first: Gotham is home to these characters, and if Batman is off with the Justice League, who else will patrol the city?
Let us know what you make of the long-running rumors of a Birds of Prey adaptation on film, and if this is an unexpected path you’d be on board for. Of course, then comes the casting discussions for no fewer than FIVE new DC villains and heroines. Oh, what a time to be alive.