Liberating Harley Quinn


Chloe Ruffennach | | Culture Staff Writer

Most people who have seen “SuicideSquad” would agree that the highlight of the movie was Harley Quinn. Margot Robbie knows this as well. So, it’s no surprise that she leveraged the character’s popularity to get what she wanted for Quinn’s future. And what Robbie wanted for the fictional antihero was a diverse, women-empowering film that liberates Harley Quinn from her abusive relationship with the Joker.

“Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)” already seems to deliver all of the above. With the newly released teaserof the cast’s costumes, audiences were given a glimpse at the future that Robbie intended for Quinn, and it already appears to be filled with female representation.

However, this vision was not achieved without a fight. Robbie continuously turned down other opportunities for Harley Quinn in the years following “Suicide Squad.” According to Refinery29, she passed on several potentially popular projects to prioritize an inclusive, female-led film. Robbie pushed aside a Harley and Joker film and placed the idea of a Gotham City Sirens movie on the backburner, despite the all-female cast because it would have had a male director attached. Robbie stood her ground and stated that she would only proceed with a Quinn movie that had a female cast and director. And with her years of resistance, she was given the film, “Birds of Prey.”

The movie includes director Cathy Yan, who is the first Asian woman to direct a superhero film. While Robbie and a few others from the confirmed cast are white, it seems that Robbie’s push for diversity paid off. The cast already includes a diverse group of actresses. According to IMDb, the film’s cast includesJurnee Smollett-Bell, a black woman, playing Black Cannery, Rosie Perez, who is Puerto Rican, playing Renee Montoyaand Ella Jay Basco, who is both Korean and Filipino, playing Cassandra Cain. These are just a few of the notable actresses that will be represented in the film.

It’s not only the cast that reflects a more progressive approach to Quinn’s story. The character’s clothing clearly shows Robbie’s influence as well. Quinn’s new costume provides, perhaps, the best insight into what this movie will revolve around. Just as the title implies, Harley appears to be absolutely liberated of her toxic and abusive relationship with the Joker.

She is seen dressed in a new, eccentric jacket, pink sports bra, suspenders and patterned shorts. Only her tattoos seem to have carried over into the character’s transformation. Though the tattoos that reference the Joker seem to have been crossed out with new ink, she no longer has her “Puddin” choker, and “Property of Joker” jacket. Quinn appears to be independent and free of his manipulation, just as Robbie intended.

Robbie prioritized representation and diversity when seeking out her next film. She leveraged Quinn’s popularity and her own recognition to push a movie with progressive values at its core. Whether “Birds of Prey” will be worth a movie ticket remains to be seen — and looking at DC’s track record, it seems like an uphill battle. Regardless, what Robbie did was extremely important and should set the precedent for other actors and actresses moving forward. And as an audience, it’s up to viewers to encourage this type of progression.

Margot Robbie is seemingly revolutionizing the beloved character of Harley Quinn through her new progressive ideas for the Birds of Prey film.