From the very first trailer for Warner Bros. supervillain team-up caper Suicide Squad, it was clear that the Joker's sidekick/fangirl Harley Quinn was going to be a central focus - as much as there ever is a central focus in an ensemble movie. This is the first time we've seen the popular character in live action on the big screen, after all, and hype for the movie has only been heightened by the fact that Harley is being played by Margot Robbie, whose star has been steadily rising since her memorable role in Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street.
Together with Jared Leto's new take on the Joker and the other members of the Suicide Squad, director David Ayer's take on the villains of the DC universe has leaned towards a grimy, violent tone that's very appealing in its own right. Interest in the movie has been boosted by three great trailers, all of which used familiar songs to great effect and repeatedly put Harley in the spotlight.
If we weren't already convinced that Warner Bros. is invested in the character, this latest bit of news clinches it: THR reports that the studio is developing a new movie based around Robbie's version of Harley Quinn, with the intent being that Robbie will not only reprise her role but also serve as a producer. It would not, according to the report, be a solo movie (or an origin movie, since it looks like Harley's origins are covered in Suicide Squad), but would instead use Harley as a lead-in to focus on other famous female heroes and villains from DC Comics. Apparently names such as Batgirl and the Birds of Prey have been discussed, and there is already a female screenwriter working on a script (though her identity is currently unknown).
Robbie has some production experience through her production company LuckyChap Entertainment, which is currently in post-production on its first feature, a noir thriller called Terminal. According to Deadline's report, Robbie herself pitched the concept of a female-centric DC movie to Warner Bros. and the studio "flipped over her take" on it. Based on this early information, it sound like Warner Bros. wants female voices on the creative side of things - something that will no doubt come as good news to those who have been fighting against for greater representation of women in the film industry, and a change to Hollywood's 'boys club' image.
Of course, Warner Bros. hasn't officially announced the film or set a release date yet, so if Suicide Squad ends up being a box office bomb then the studio could easily walk back these plans. With that said, this is an indication that Warner Bros. may be responding to the poor critical response and less-than-expected box office performance of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice by leaning harder on Suicide Squad and its potential to open up a different side of the DC Extended Universe.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is now playing in U.S. theaters. Suicide Squad will arrive on August 5, 2016, followed by Wonder Woman on June 2, 2017; Justice League Part One on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 16, 2018; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League Part Two on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020.