Does a Suicide Squad sequel really need Harley Quinn?


Harley Quinn may not be in Suicide Squad 2, but is she really needed?

A rumor has that James Gunn’s Suicide Squad 2 script will cut Harley Quinn from the cast. Can the sequel survive without her? It is best we take a look!

The sequel does not need Harley Quinn

First and foremost, Suicide Squad has existed for years. We have the older Silver Age take that debuted in 1959 in The Brave and The Bold. The modern Suicide Squad that people know and love came to us in 1987, thanks to John Ostrander. Harley Quinn does not debut until Batman: The Animated Series in 1992. She doesn’t come into the real Batman comic book continuity until 1999. Her inclusion into the Suicide Squad does not occur until 2011, in the first issue of Suicide Squad under The New 52.

Suicide Squad has existed and thrived without Harley Quinn for over two decades. On top of that, Suicide Squad or Task Force X, does not have a pre-set roster. On average, it almost always includes Deadshot and Captain Boomerang, and Amanda Waller is always in charge. So, these are the only real prerequisites you can argue. All teams have a changing roster, but aside from these three, Task Force X’s roster is not set in stone like the Justice League. More choice, chance and creativity allows for this team to stay dynamic. At times, a character debuts and is killed off in that same issue. Long-time comic-book fans know all of this information. They probably welcome more Harley Quinn, but do not demand her presence.

Finally, keep in mind how the film ended. The Joker breaks Harley Quinn out of Belle Reeve, saying “Let’s go home.” It is highly unlikely that he broke out the rest of the squad. Plus, this scene is setting up the next chapter in Harley Quinn’s story. We know for a fact that the next chapter of her arc is with the Birds of Prey, not the Suicide Squad. Shoe-horning her back into the team after this would be a cop-out to the scene, anyways.

The Sequel and Suicide Squad Overall Require Her

Ever since The New 52 re-launched Suicide Squad with Harley Quinn, it has been difficult to remove her. We see her in Batman: Assault on Arkham and Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay. There was even the re-branding and re-numbering of the series, yet they still kept her included. DC goes through its Rebirth and she remains with the squad. It almost appears that Harley Quinn is here to stay. All and any new readers to the series probably expect to see her. General audiences and new fans coming away from the film probably also expect her.

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The first film’s audience was 46% female, which is more than most comic book movies. Can the sequel do the same without Harley Quinn? Sure, they also had Enchantress, Katana and Amanda Waller. One cannot help but feel doubtful  the majority of this 46% came solely for just one of those characters, though. Critics and fans were hard on the film, but almost everyone had nothing but praise for Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. Sure, the film will most likely carry Will Smith’s Deadshot, who can pull in an audience. Will it be the same, though?

In writing this sequel, James Gunn must remain careful in not replacing Harley Quinn. It is fine if he wants to elevate the role of Katana or use another female in a large role. However, no one must replace her as a Harley Quinn clone, so to speak. Do not give her similar chemistry with Deadshot as Harley Quinn had. If James Gunn goes in the opposite direction, we could get something like Batman Returns, a film where people were overall pleased with The Penguin, but felt he paled in comparison to Jack Nicholson’s  Joker.

dark. Next. Do we need a Gotham City Sirens film, first?

The best route is to treat the sequel as its own film. Do not borrow the same bits from the first film. One can use it as a road map, but do not copy it. The Dark Knight was not a success because it was Batman Begins 2, it was a hit because it was The Dark Knight. Does Suicide Squad need Harley Quinn in order to qualify as a good movie? No, it just has to be a good movie on its own merit.