The upcoming animated Batman & Harley Quinn movie has formally found a director and writing team. Since the release of Suicide Squad last year, interest in Quinn has skyrocketed thanks to Margot Robbie's lovably psychotic portrayal of the villain and Warner Bros. are aiming to capitalize on that buzz - by putting the character alongside the Caped Crusader in a feature-length Batman/Harley animated film.
The project was first mentioned last year at the press panel for another Batman animated movie, The Killing Joke, but now further details are beginning to emerge. The Batman/Harley movie voice cast was announced earlier this month, with The Big Bang Theory's Melissa Rauch lending her distinctive vocal tones to the iconic villain and Kevin Conroy returning to voice Bruce Wayne/Batman. The film sees Harley attempting to live a regular life as a civilian, until she is enlisted by the duo of Batman and Nightwing in order to tackle a more serious foe.
With an impressive looking cast in place, Warner Bros. (via Collider) has now revealed the figures charged with directorial and writing duties. Behind the metaphorical camera will be Sam Liu, who also worked on The Killing Joke and several other DC animated features. As for the writing team, Batman & Harley Quinn's story was conceived by Bruce Timm - a key figure from the original Batman:The Animated Series and co-creator of Quinn herself - and the teleplay will be written by Timm and Jim Krieg.
The announcement will likely be music to the ears of Batman fans. Although The Killing Joke was a controversial adaptation, it's difficult to deny that the film was a gorgeous spectacle and Harley fans will likely be delighted if Liu can bring such sheen to a story focused on the Joker's notorious lover. Timm's involvement is also thoroughly welcome. The Batman/Harley movie's visual style seems to harken back to Batman: The Animated Series, the show in which Quinn first appeared. This somewhat retro approach will hopefully lead to a more authentic interpretation of the character.
Although the film is still in the early stages of development, there is certainly plenty of cause to be optimistic about Batman & Harley Quinn. The footage available so far looks engaging visually and Rauch's voice suits the character well enough. Meanwhile, the creative team involved have a bevy of experience working with characters in the Batman universe and there seems little doubt that the project will be nothing less than a labor of love between longtime DC collaborators.
With that said, there are some pitfalls Batman & Harley Quinn should perhaps avoid, particularly with The Killing Joke in mind. Despite looking beautiful and featuring another stunning vocal performance by Mark Hamill as The Joker, The Killing Joke was criticized for its portrayal of Barbara Gordon and the way it expands upon its source material. The movie saw a vastly increased role for Barbara/Batgirl that didn't fully tie in with the main narrative and features a controversial scene where Batman and Batgirl having (Bat)sex. A similar move with Harley would perhaps not be the right direction to go.
Batman & Harley Quinn is expected to be released this Summer on Digital and Home Media.