Gotham showrunner John Stephens says the iconic Batman character Harley Quinn will never be on the hit FOX TV series, which returns for its fourth season Thursday night. Since its debut in 2014, Gotham has been a breath of fresh air in the Batman lore, as it's been examining the early years of Bruce Wayne (David Maouz) and the city's eventual top cop Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie), as well as the origins of such famed supervillains as Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), Edward Nygma/The Riddler (Corey Michael Smith) and Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Carmen Bicondova).
And while in more recent years the series has added such bad guys as Victor Fries/Mr. Freeze (Nathan Darrow), Jonathan Crane/The Scarecrow (Charlie Tahan) and Ra's al Ghul (Alexander Siddig) to the mix, noticeably absent from the line-up of notable villains is Harley Quinn – even though the traits of Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) seem to suggest that the character is heading in that direction.
But in a recent interview with CBR, Stephens – reiterating something he told the publication at San Diego Comic Con – says the introduction of Harley Quinn on Gothan is "not going to happen." He adds:
“Let’s put it out there. The discussions we’ve been having is – Look, we know Harley Quinn is never going to be on our show.”
The simple explanation from Stephens appears to be that Harley Quinn simply doesn't fit within Gotham's timeline. That's not to say the showrunner isn't interested in having a Harley Quinn-type character to fill the void however, and in the first three seasons, Keane seems to perfectly fit the bill. He says:
“[T]here are elements of that Harley Quinn personality that we have liked, that sense of fun and anarchy, that we said, ‘Well, we can actually have those qualities embodied in Barbara without actually having to do Harley herself. I think Erin Richards carried it off really well.”
Fans will no doubt be disappointed with Stephens' decision not to introduce Harley Quinn to Gotham, especially since she's has burgeoned in popularity following Margot Robbie's brilliant portrayal of the character in Suicide Squad in 2016. Maybe in some sort of way, since Robbie's Harley Quinn is one of the most notable Batman villains to debut in years, Stephens simply doesn't want to invite comparisons. At the very least, Harley Quinn is already presiding in Gotham in spirit with Richard's Kean.
Lucky for those same fans, they can at least count on getting more of the bedazzling villain on the big screen, including Suicide Squad 2 from director Gavin O'Connor, the upcoming Joker and Harley Quinn movie from co-writers/directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (Crazy, Stupid, Love, This Is Us); and Gotham City Sirens, which is still in development.