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Who is Harley Quinn? Breaking Down Gaga's Next Character


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Stephen

Hey everybody! I’ve been a huge DC fan since childhood so I thought I would shed some light on the possible directions this could go for our girl. While Gaga’s character has not been confirmed, it is heavily rumored (and obvious) that she is playing a version of Harley Quinn.

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Unlike most comic book characters, Harley was actually created for the Emmy-winning “Batman: The Animated Series” (1992). She appeared there first, before being adapted into the comic books. She was created originally as a female sidekick to the Joker but quickly began to develop her own autonomy.

The MOST important thing to know about Joker and Harley’s relationship is that it is physically and emotionally ABUSIVE. Harley is smitten and blindly in love with Joker, but he is only using her. He doesn’t actually care about her emotions, well being, or even her life. He finds her amusing, useful and entertaining but nothing more. They get along, but he never truly reciprocates the affection that she has for him. He is quick to turn on her. On countless occasions he has beat her, lied to her, left her for Batman or the police to apprehend, left her for dead, replaced her or kicked her out. But Harley forgives him and comes running back every single time.

At her core, Harley is a symbol for victims of domestic abuse. She portrays how difficult it is to leave once you are sucked into a narcissistic manipulator’s orbit. You root for her because she has a naïve innocence about her. She is convinced that Joker can change, and that deep down he does love her (spoiler: he does not).

Eventually, Harley does leave the Joker for good and later falls in love with her best friend, Poison Ivy.

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I know a lot of people are dying to see THAT story on the big screen and they might be disappointed that we’re getting a Joker X Harley movie instead of a Harley X Poison Ivy movie. To those people I say: an important part of Harley’s development is showing us her relationship with Joker. We have to see where she comes from in order to fully appreciate the victory and triumph of her finally leaving him for good. I predict (and hope) that JOKER 2 will accurately portray this abusive relationship and culminate with Harley leaving Joker.

Margot Robbie has portrayed Harley in 3 films to great reception, so some people might be worried about Gaga competing with her version. The thing about Margot's version of Harley is that it largely skips over her relationship with Joker. We see them together in "Suicide Squad" (2016) and the nature of their abusive relationship is briefly touched on through flashbacks but isn't the focus of the movie. Whenever her and Joker are together in present day, they seem to get along and have no issues. In fact, additional scenes portraying Joker's abuse WERE shot for this movie but ultimately were cut in the final edit, largely sanitizing and romanticizing their relationship.

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In Margot's second and third films as Harley, her relationship with Joker has already ended off screen. She alludes to the toxic nature of their relationship but again, it's not the focus. This aspect of her character hasn't fully been explored in live action which gives Gaga and JOKER 2 the opportunity to really go there. The first movie was a gritty, intense, violent movie so I have no doubt that Todd Phillips will not shy away from portraying Joker's abuse.

Another thing to keep in mind about this movie is that the first one (although a commercial, financial and critical success), took extreme liberties in changing the Joker's character. They gave him a new name, a new origin story, a whole new life that for the first time didn't even include Batman. For all intents and purposes, it was a new character with only a few similarities to the Joker everyone was expecting.

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This is why I think we should expect that Harley may also be drastically changed in this movie. Hell, her name might not even be Harley Quinn. We should really be prepared for anything. Todd Phillips has shown us that he isn't afraid to completely alter the character. 

The last thing I want to leave you with is this: If you are interested in seeing the truest, most accurate depiction of Harley and Joker's relationship, you need to watch the episode "Mad Love". It's only 20 minutes of your time. After you see this episode, you will fully understand not only Harley as a character, but also Joker as a character, and the toxic dynamic of their relationship. Below is a clip from the episode but I urge you to watch the whole thing. This is only a fraction of her story. The episode is available on HBO Max, listed under "Batman: The Animated Series" as season 3, episode 24. 

 

Edited by Stephen
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Hey everybody! I’ve been a huge DC fan since childhood so I thought I would shed some light on the possible directions this could go for our girl. While Gaga’s character has not been confirmed, it is

So are you suggesting that they are...caught in a bad romance? 

What’s the point of art if it doesn’t reflect life? Abuse is unfortunately real and a character rising above that can be inspirational. Harley’s story has a happy ending. 

Borisapillar

So are you suggesting that they are...caught in a bad romance? :partysick:

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JaysAMess

I love this post! Harley is easily my favourite character when it comes to comics, so to see Gaga take on this role and to see what she brings to it is so exciting.

"tell me, we both matter, don't we?"
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Hold My Ham

Is there confirmation that she's playing Harley Quinn? I thought there was another possible character with a really long name 

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AnnaNicoleSmith

My pet peeve is to change Harley's character because "abuse is bad". Yeah well, DC characters are not cookies and cream. Show me Harley being obsessed with Joker, that's who she is at her core, she's sick, completely sick in "love" with him and he treats her like ****. That's the main story of her, yeah then it can evolve later on, but to always censor that part of her, I find it so lame

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JaysAMess
2 minutes ago, AnnaNicoleSmith said:

Show me Harley being obsessed with Joker, that's who she is at her core, she's sick, completely sick in "love" with him and he treats her like ****. That's the main story of her, yeah then it can evolve later on, but to always censor that part of her, I find it so lame

They showed that in Suicide Squad though. And like Stephen said, they showed even more of it in scenes that were cut.

"tell me, we both matter, don't we?"
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Edonis

Batman the Animated Series really is THAT show, and deserves all the accolades it’s received and influence it’s had on animation and storytelling.
 

Mad Love is also one of the best episodes of syndicated TV, animated or not, and probably the strongest Batman story across all adapted media (movies included). The window scene in particular and accompanying voice work…it’s crazy how that was airing on Saturday mornings for mostly child audiences lol.

 

I have faith that they’ll pay tribute to the original character in an accurate way, even if the origin story changes. 

Edited by Edonis
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Borisapillar

Do y'all realize how sick'ning this movie is going to be?????

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Anderson123
28 minutes ago, Borisapillar said:

So are you suggesting that they are...caught in a bad romance? :partysick:

Or a stupid love if you will. :partysick:

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KORG

Oh she is going to be a wreck filming this movie but it's giving me 911 death stare @ CTB and AHS Flicker episode.

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Oriane

I'm going to watch the episode!

I also recommend the comics Harleen, I love the author's work and I find it well-written.

Edit: I just watched it, I actually find Harleen better, her story is more developed and she's more intelligent.

Edited by Oriane
You popped my heart seams, all my bubble dreams
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Dojo

misogynistic, patriarchal fantasies

we will not be watching or supporting this project

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Stephen
5 minutes ago, Dojo said:

misogynistic, patriarchal fantasies

we will not be watching or supporting this project

What’s the point of art if it doesn’t reflect life? Abuse is unfortunately real and a character rising above that can be inspirational. Harley’s story has a happy ending. 

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Reality

I've always known of Harley Quinn, but I'm a relatively new fan of the character. It wasn't until Margot Robbie's verion of the character that I actually really started to like her. And even thouh Margot's version of the character is pretty much universally loved, I don't think people should be worked up about whether or not Gaga will be "better" or not. They're most likely going to be portraying a very different version of the character like how Joaquin Phoenix's Joker is very different from any comic book iteration of the character.

What I think they're going to do—and smartly so—is focus more on Harleen Quinzel, the character that Harley was before she met the Joker. I think starting off the movie with a character like that that slowly descends into madness as she gets manipulated/corrupted by Joker could be super interesting. Also though, like how Joker himself is very different from his comic book counterpart, I'd expect Gaga's Harley would be the same. She isn't going to be swinging baseball bats, wearing tights, or calling Joker "Puddin'" or "Mista J". That just doesn't fit with the universe they've created.

I think this is Gaga's most exciting role to date! That said, I do have a bias for superhero movies :sweat:

♦ 𝕁𝕠𝕜𝕖𝕣: 𝔽𝕠𝕝𝕚𝕖 𝕒 𝔻𝕖𝕦𝕩 ♥ || 𝕆𝕔𝕥𝕠𝕓𝕖𝕣 𝟜, 𝟚𝟘𝟚𝟜
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River

I agree that she may not play “Harley” but a character based on her.

Just to add that there are 3 (or even more) active Jokers in the DC universe so one Joker and his “Harley” is not canceling the other but completing the Joker mystery.

Just my honest opinion is that Margot’s Harley is the worst adaptation in the DC universe (comics/movies/cartoons etc.)

"There could be 99 toilets in a house, and it's my house" - River, 2021
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