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What Birds of Prey means for the Worlds of DC movies

Digital Spy (UK) logo Digital Spy (UK) 07/02/2020 Gabriella Geisinger

Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn is exactly what it says on the tin – an emancipation. Harley and company are liberated from the stranglehold of the wider Worlds of DC and, of course, her Suicide Squad roots.

But as Cathy Yan told Digital Spy: "What's great right now about what's happening with DC is you can have a movie like Joker, and then you can have ours and we are really standalone. I think, you know, we wanted to pay homage to the comics, we want to pay homage to Suicide Squad, and keep some of the looks of the tattoos and whatnot that Harley had in that. But really, I was able to, you know, create a new world."

This new world, however, is still part of a shared universe – which brings us to the very heart of the matter... How does Birds of Prey fit into the wider universe, if it does at all, and what are its ramifications? Note: there are spoilers for Birds of Prey from here on out.

It is worth noting that Birds of Prey producer Sue Kroll said: "I don't think it has any similarities to Suicide Squad, except that we have Harley at the centre of it... So she's the thing that's the same, but other than that it's a standalone story."

Yet Birds of Prey does feature more than just nods to Suicide Squad. Harley spends the first chunk of the movie trying to emancipate herself from Joker. Though we never see Leto's Clown Prince of Crime, we hear him in voiceovers and flashbacks.

a group of people posing for the camera: Birds of Prey trailer © Warner Bros. Birds of Prey trailer

Perhaps the place where Birds of Prey departs most from Suicide Squad is in its references to Harley's past crimes. Perhaps her most egregious is aiding Joker in the murder of Robin – this isn't mentioned despite her many other transgressions being a big part of the plot.

As for the future of DC, and Harley's role in the upcoming The Suicide Squad (not a sequel to the 2016 movie but a reboot), we can only make an educated guess. Unlike many other superhero movies, Birds of Prey does not have a post-credits scene that ties it into any upcoming sequels or spin-offs (though it does have a cheeky nod to the cinematic trope).

a woman wearing sunglasses: Harley Quinn, Birds of Prey trailer © Warner Bros. Harley Quinn, Birds of Prey trailer

Birds of Prey does have nods to other DC movie moments and characters, like Batman teased in the trailer. The marketing department is clearly having fun with referencing other pop-culture mainstays, too. It also ties into wider DC Comics plotlines like Black Canary's past. It feels very much like a standalone movie, and even Harley's past is explained in a way that means Suicide Squad is optional viewing at best.

As for The Suicide Squad, Birds of Prey will likely be relevant, considering two factors: Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn is part of The Suicide Squad cast, but Jared Leto's Joker is not. Since Birds of Prey saw Harley literally blow her relationship up, it's not a stretch to imagine she wouldn't want to work with her ex.

And, we have to be honest, Harley's a better win for The Suicide Squad than Joker. The other upcoming DC movie we have to look forward to is The Batman, but given that movie is set in the 1980s, nothing from Harley Quinn's solo venture should impact it.

Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn is now playing in cinemas. 

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