It’s no secret, the DC cinematic universe hasn’t got off to the best of starts. While the first three films of the franchise, Man of Steel, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad were commercial successes, critically it was another story. In my opinion, while all three have their flaws, only Batman V Superman is the real stinker in the bunch. Man of Steel and Suicide Squad didn’t reinvent the wheel in terms of comic book movies, and they have a couple of questionable elements, they were still enjoyable to watch. Irregardless of critical disdain, the franchise appears to be showing no signs of slowing down. Solo movies featuring recognisable characters such as Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg to name a few, are lined up, along with a highly anticipated, Avengers style pair of movies which will see these characters team up and form the Justice League.
While Suicide Squad was met with criticism, Margot Robbie’s portrayal of seductive, villainous, psychiatrist Harley Quinn was widely praised by both critics and fans alike. So much so, that it was recently announced that a solo film featuring Harley was to be added to the franchise release schedule, with Robbie attached to both star and produce the project. The announcement has led to huge speculation as to what the plot of the movie will be and which of the vast array of DC Comics characters will be appearing in it. If you were to do a quick search online, you will find article after article linking practically every DC character there has ever been to the film. But one rumour seems to be cropping up more than others alleging that the film will feature a predominantly female superhero cast, with the Birds of Prey team gaining particular interest.
The Birds of Prey are a team of super heroines that operate primarily out of Gotham City. The group is co-led by Barbara Gordon under the codename Oracle and Laurel Lance as her alter-ego Black Canary. While these two have been the most prominent members of the team, at various times it has included a host of DC female favourites. While Harley Quinn hasn’t been a member in the past, that’s not to say that she couldn’t be written in for the sake of her solo movie in some way. Her Suicide Squad teammate Katana, played by Karen Fukuhara in the movie, has been a member of the Birds of Prey and that could be her way on to the team. Or, the filmmakers could go down the route taken by the short-lived 2002 Birds of Prey TV series, which saw Harley (played by Mia Sara) take the role of the villain and face off with the titular team.
However they choose to go about bringing the story to life, they are going to need a whole host of kick-ass women to make it happen. So baring all that in mind, and assuming that Katana will be featured as well as Harley, here are 5 DC characters that could appear, and the women who should play them.
Barbara Gordon – Oracle – Kate Mara
As any Batman fan will know already, Barbara Gordon is the daughter of Commissioner Jim Gordon (who is set to be played by JK Simmons in the DC universe. Originally the character was said to have died before the events of Batman V Superman, but has since gotten a reprieve, and Simmons is an excellent choice to play him). Barbara is also the most famous character to have taken on the mantle of Batgirl, fighting crime alongside Batman before being shot by The Joker in the iconic Batman story, The Killing Joke. The attack resulted in Barbara being paralysed below the waist, but rather than retire from her crime fighting duties, she assumed the identity of Oracle and continued to assist Batman remotely by providing intelligence and computer hacking skills to him while in the field. Writers later expanded her reach, depicting her helping other heroes in the same way. In the run up to the release of Batman V Superman, The Hunger Games star Jena Malone was heavily rumoured to be appearing as Barbara in that film, but the release of its extended cut quashed those rumours when it was revealed she would actually be appearing as Jenet Klyburn, a journalist at the Daily Planet along with Lois Lane.
Malone would have been a great choice for the character, but somebody who could be equally as good would be House of Cards star Kate Mara. The younger sister of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo star Rooney, she is a proven talent, often winning high praise for her performances in House of Cards and films such as Shooter and The Martian. Mara has also previously had a crack of the superhero whip, playing The Invisible Woman in the disastrous reboot of the Fantastic Four in 2015, but if that hasn’t sworn her off superhero adaptations for life, she could be a good fit for the role of Oracle. Presumably, the upcoming Batman solo film will happen before Harley Quinn’s outing, so a good way of introducing Barbara before that would be in that film, by perhaps adapting The Killing Joke storyline in some form, and having her lose the use of her legs and assuming the mantle of Oracle for the Birds of Prey in the future.
Laurel Lance – Black Canary – Yvonne Strahovski
Any fans of the TV series Arrow will be familiar with Black Canary, where she has been portrayed by Katie Cassidy since the shows debut. Rumours were floating around earlier this year that Black Canary was set to be introduced in Justice League (spoiler in this link if you are not up to date on Arrow), by way of a cameo to potentially lead into a Birds of Prey movie. Black Canary along with Oracle are the most prominent members of the all female team. Essentially DC’s version of the Marvel Character Black Widow, one thing does set her apart: the use of her “Canary Cry”, a high-powered sonic scream that can shatter objects and incapacitate her enemies. In the current DC Comics continuity, Black Canary is said to have inherited this ability through experiments with alien DNA. If they went with that origin story in the films, it could open up a variety of different avenues story wise for the future. Katie Cassidy played the character on the Arrow, but it’s safe to say she wouldn’t be in the running to reprise the role in the films.
So when looking to casting, I think another well-known TV actress could be the answer. Yvonne Strahovski has starred in hit shows such as Chuck, Dexter and 24: Live Another Day, playing tough, smart characters in each. As well as that, she has been already linked to numerous female superhero roles in the past, most recently Captain Marvel, for which she was a fan favourite (before the part eventually went to Brie Larson). She certainly looks the part for Black Canary, and fans would undoubtedly love her in the role.
Helena Bertinelli – Huntress – Christian Serratos
The next character on my list is Helena Bertinelli, A.K.A Huntress. Huntress has had a couple of origin stories in the source material over the years, but in all iterations, she is a member of a prominent Mafia family in Gotham City. When she was 6 years old, she was kidnapped and raped by a rival Mafia Don, to try to mentally torture her father. In a later story, she witnesses the murder of her entire family when she is 8 years old. So as far as tragic back stories go, Huntress has the monopoly. Her quest for vengeance spurs her to hone her body, both physically and mentally, becoming an expert hand-to-hand combatant in the process. In the comics at present, she is a member of the Birds of Prey, where she clashes with Oracle and Black Canary over her reckless nature and thirst for vengeance, both of which are brought on by her tough childhood and mission to avenge her family. This dynamic between the three could be interesting on-screen.
As for who should play her, I’m envisioning somebody slightly younger than Mara and Strahovski. In my opinion, The Walking Dead actress Christian Serratos should be a contender. The Walking Dead may be her most high-profile role to date, and although the producers of that show don’t utilise her as effectively as they could, she is utterly compelling when they do, conveying a fierceness that is offset by a more damaged emotional side.
Selina Kyle – Catwoman – Kate Beckinsale
This character really needs no introduction, but I will anyway. Aside from Wonder Woman, Selina Kyle/Catwoman is arguably the most recognisable DC heroine, if not the most recognisable female comic book character of them all. She is a consistent fan favourite, due to her flirty personality, sexy costumes, anti-hero status and of course for her numerous romantic dalliances with the Dark Knight down through the years. An orphan since birth, and a sometimes member of the Birds of Prey, Selina Kyle turned to a life of crime in order to survive the tough streets of Gotham City, eventually becoming a notorious cat burglar. The character is often seen as a reluctant hero rather than a villain, often assisting Batman in times of need. Similarly to Barbara Gordon, a good way to introduce her would be in the upcoming Batman movie first. Or even just introducing her straight off the bat (no pun intended) in the Harley Quinn movie. Although, in a Batman movie would make more sense as she is so synonymous with that character. Also with Ben Affleck Portraying an older Batman with over 20 years of crime fighting already under his belt, an older Catwoman who he has encountered before would make sense. And there was also that subtle reference made to her in that scene in Batman V Superman featuring Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince. You can check that out here if you haven’t seen it.
The character has had many different iterations over the years, perhaps being played most notably by Michelle Pfeiffer and Anne Hathaway. As for who should play her next, Kate Beckinsale would be perfect. While she’s not an actress that courts the limelight, she has had a number of diverse and interesting roles. She is perhaps best known for playing the sexy, kick-ass, half human, half vampire Selene in the Underworld series, meaning she has tonnes of experience in an action part and with getting to grips with skin-tight costumes, which are similarly associated with Catwoman. She’s also close in age with Ben Affleck, which could result in some dynamic chemistry between the pair down the line if she were cast.
Pamela Isley – Poison Ivy – Sarah Michelle Gellar
Like Catwoman, Poison Ivy’s association with the Birds of Prey is rather short-lived in comparison to some of the others on this list. But when putting together a solo Harley Quinn project, it would be impossible not to mention her. Ivy is a well-known Batman villain, starting out similar to Harley in that they both were quite, timid women working scientific jobs before a life of crime beckoned. Pamela studied advanced biochemistry at a university, where she was seduced by a professor and forced to take part in an experiment in which he injected her with different plant toxins, transforming her into Poison Ivy, a notorious ecoterrorist. She utilises various toxins and mind control pheromones to subdue her enemies. In the comics, Harley is her frequent partner in crime, with the two even having a romantic relationship at one time. This along with the fact that both women were transformed into criminals by abusive men would make for interesting and diverse viewing if they were to appear together. Ivy has only been portrayed once in a feature film thus far, by Uma Thurman. She has also been linked to the solo Batman movie, with speculation pointing towards her occupying a cell in Arkham Asylum, having been captured and put there by Batman years previously. Similarly to Catwoman, it would make sense to have her appear as an older character alongside Batfleck.
Taking into account her age and some of her previous roles, Sarah Michelle Gellar would be an interesting casting choice. Gellar is due to turn 40 early next year, (where have the years gone?? Buffy is turning 40. That’s crazy!), and like Beckinsale, is close in age to Affleck. She of course has experience in playing a strong female character, what with Buffy Summers being an icon of female empowerment in television. But I think it’s her performance in the movie Cruel Intentions as the vindictive Kathryn Merteuil, that proves she would have the necessary seductive, ruthless quality for Ivy. She’s been off the radar a bit in recent years apart from appearing in a few short-lived TV shows, so it would be good to see such a popular actress back in a prominent role, because she’s a real talent.
Well, those are my thought for some characters and actresses for the Harley Quinn solo movie. It will most likely be a few years before we see it in theatres, but it will be exciting to see the casting process and hearing details about the plot. Feel free to have a vote in the polls above, and leave some comments below with your own thoughts.
Have a good weekend! 🙂