There's Already Been One Horrifying Bat Family Attack
There was one particularly infamous image from Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice that prompted intense speculation from comics fans long before the film was released. This was a picture of a graffiti-covered Robin costume held in a display case in the Bat Cave. Based on the erratic handwriting and the use of the phrase "Joke's on you, Batman" it was implied this had been written by The Joker.
This raised several questions. Did Robin die at the hands of The Joker in the reality of the DCEU? If so, was it the second Robin, Jason Todd, who was killed by The Joker, as in the comics? If so, what happened to Dick Grayson, the original Robin? Did he become Nightwing in the DCEU? And what about all the other vigilantes normally associated with Batman, like Batgirl?
While the Justice League movie may have quietly retconned some of this backstory, it is still clear that something bad happened in Batman's past that has made him reluctant to work with other people. This is implied by some of his interactions with Wonder Woman, as they go about building a team together. It's also possible that Commissioner Gordon's remark about it being good to see Batman playing with others may have been worded in such a way so as to not directly reference absent loved ones.
Theory: Barbra Gordon Is Already Oracle
Considering all of this, one theory stands out above all others that explains all the available evidence - Barbara Gordon is already Oracle in the DCEU. Given Barbara's strong will and refusal to live an ordinary life when her intelligence gives her so many opportunities to help others, it is unlikely that she'd peacefully retire from crime-fighting. Even in the realities where she did give up being Batgirl, she continued to fight crime in some capacity, as in the reality of Batman Beyond where she followed her father to become the Commissioner of Gotham City's Police Department.
Given that Jim Gordon was still alive and kicking in Justice League, it seems far more likely - even ignoring the character's long history and her popularity in the Oracle role - that Barbara Gordon would appear in as Oracle in The DCEU, particularly in a Birds of Prey movie. This might also explain why we didn't see her in Batman v. Superman or Justice League - she was tied up with another team - or maybe she was no longer on speaking terms with her former mentor for some reason?
How Oracle Ties The DCEU's Bat-Movies Together
We know there was some grand epic battle between Batman and The Joker at some point in the past. Batman V. Superman didn't give us many details, but it was stated in Suicide Squad that The Joker and Harley Quinn had killed at least one Robin. Given that, might it be possible that the events of The Killing Joke might have played out in some fashion in this reality, with The Joker paralyzing Batgirl as part of his vendetta against Batman? It wouldn't be impossible and seems quite likely.
Assuming that happened, we now have a likely breakdown of Barbara Gordon's status in the DCEU. We also have a means of strengthening the connections between the various films set in Gotham City. Because Barbara Gordon has a unique status as the only character whose off-screen presence could have influenced the events of Batman v. Superman, Justice League and Suicide Squad.
Granting that there have been no direct references to Barbara Gordon existing in the DCEU so far, there's nothing to suggest she doesn't exist either. Moreover, there are numerous characters to whom she was closely tied in the comics that we know do exist in the movies. From her father to Batman and Robin, all the way to Amanda Waller.
This last point could also explain the mystery of Harley's involvement in Birds of Prey. Perhaps a revenge-minded Oracle would see Harley as the key to tracking down the man responsible for her paralysis. Amanda Waller provides exactly that connection, and would also make an excellent cameo for an "R-Rated girl gang film" Birds of Prey was pitched as. With Harley being the one person who has more reason to hate The Joker than Oracle, such a story would offer a great avenue for conflict, with the notoriously order-minded Oracle struggling to cope and keep-up with the chaotic Harley Quinn.
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
- Joker (2019) release date: Oct 04, 2019