The new model at Warner Bros. and the DCEU seems to focus on standalone movies that no longer rely on existing properties to succeed, but strike off and find their own vision. This worked for Patty Jenkins’ WONDER WOMAN by telling a prequel and James Wan’s AQUAMAN, which established a much larger undersea world for Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa).
But upcoming DCEU movies still will contain some threads from existing Warner Bros. movies, and that is what we expect to see in Cathy Yan’s BIRDS OF PREY.
For starters, the latest trailer (which you can see below) makes it crystal clear that Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn has broken up with “Mr. J,” who we know as the Joker (Jared Leto). She is tossing knives at a drawing of Joker’s clown face, so their volatile on-again/off-again relationship currently is off again.
But Harley’s still on the loose in Gotham, which we saw briefly in David Ayer’s SUICIDE SQUAD movie. Take a look at the production design for the famous DC city in this BIRDS OF PREY trailer:
But Cathy Yan, who now holds the distinction of being the first female Asian director to ever helm a superhero movie, wants BIRDS OF PREY to feel like other DC movies, yet also stand very far apart as something unique and original to the DCEU. The presence of Robbie anchors it in the DC universe. But Yan told Deadline when she got hired that she will bring other influences to the storytelling and the visuals.
“I could not put the script down, it had so much dark humor to it which a lot of my work does, and there are themes of female empowerment which are so strong and relateable,” Yan said about BIRDS OF PREY. “So I went in with, not with confidence, but at least a sense that I belonged in the room, that somehow magically in terms of timing and luck that this opportunity was open to me and I was definitely going to make the best of it."
“The tone of the film is similar to that in my films,” she continued. “There is a half-Asian character and our screenwriter (Christina Hodson) is half Chinese and she’s sneaking little bits in.”
Some might view BIRDS OF PREY as a sequel to SUICIDE SQUAD. It’s not, but we can understand why the presence of Harley Quinn, the SUICIDE SQUAD scene stealer, would lead one to conclude that. Instead, WB is using Harley as a means to introduce several new characters into the DC universe, including Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) and the villainous Black Mask (Ewan McGregor).
In addition to BIRDS OF PREY, Margot Robbie does plan to be in the announced SUICIDE SQUAD sequel, though even that has undergone a major shift. David Ayer will not be back to direct, with WB bringing in James Gunn for what the filmmaker is calling a soft reboot of the franchise. Even though Robbie will be back as Harley. Because if it ain’t broke…
You don’t have to wait very long for BIRDS OF PREY. Warner Bros. will have it in theatres on February 7, 2020. Keep it here on the AMC Scene for more film details as they develop.