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Fans Are Not About To Ignore Harley Quinn's Absence From James Gunn's DC Slate

In case you hadn't heard, the balance of power in the DC universe has finally shifted for real, and it seems James Gunn and Peter Safran are now the most powerful beings in town. The pair were famously announced as the new shepherds of the DC Comics cinematic universe a few months back. In the weeks since, DC fandom has been clamoring to learn what they're cooking up as their first round of projects, with Gunn himself often taking to Twitter to debunk, confirm, or clarify certain rumors. 

The "Guardians of the Galaxy" director addressed Twitter again today and, coupled with a more official Monday reveal as covered by The Hollywood Reporter, confirmed they've got 10 film and television projects on tap for the first chapter of the new DCU. While fans of the iconic superhero house are no doubt beyond thrilled to see that Gunn and Safran are set to bring new projects fronting Batman, Swamp Thing, Green Lanterns, and more to the screen in the coming years, some are seizing on one character's glaring absence from the current DCU slate. 

That character is, of course, Harley Quinn, who's been a bright spot of the company's big-screen output since Margot Robbie debuted the character back in 2016's "Suicide Squad." Given her popularity, fans are indeed taking to social media to ponder her absence from Gunn's slate of upcoming projects.   

DC fans remain fiercely vocal in their love of Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn

Not surprisingly, fans began posting about Harely Quinn's absence from the DCU slate mere minutes after James Gunn announced the lineup via Twitter. Now, it should be noted Gunn specifically points out in his video that the projects listed are not the end of the road, meaning other DC works will likely be popping up in the future. It's safe to say this announcement is hardly a death-knell for Margot Robbie's version of Harley. Even still, Tweets have been coming fast and furiously regarding to the character's future, with user @NellieLaRou_ demanding an update via an all-caps post stating, "SAY SOMETHING ABOUT MARGOT ROBBIE AND HARLEY QUINN @JAMESGUNN."

That call was far from the only one begging Gunn for news about Harley. User @robbiescavill asked simply, "hey what about harley quinn?" while @martycipher was clearly a bit more worried at her absence, asking, "WHAT ABOUT MARGOT AND HARLEY PLEASEEEEEEEE." Elsewhere, @Gabriellluizz1 seemed to understand the absence may only be temporary, posting a picture of Robbie with the caption, "to be continued?" For their part, @BranyanTowe was refreshingly civil in a response to the lack of Harley news, commenting, "The DC slate sounds terrific, @JamesGunn! I hope the 'Waller' series also leaves the door open for Margot Robbie to return as Harley Quinn! I trust your plan, sir, but Margot's portrayal of Harley is the definitive version of the character and I'd hate to see her leave!"

It would be shocking if Gunn didn't work Harley Quinn back into the mix somewhere down the road

That last tweet is pretty indicative of how Harley Quinn fans have reacted to James Gunn's DCU announcement, with many admiring his and Peter Safran's vision even as they express dismay at the seeming lack of upcoming projects fronting their favorite character. Absence aside, it seems highly unlikely that Margot Robbie's version of the character won't be back in some capacity, if only because Gunn himself is such a big fan of the actor's work in the role.

Gunn did, after all, make sure to bring Robbie back to play Harley  for his own "The Suicide Squad" flick in 2021. So impressed was Gunn with Robbie's read on Harley, he claimed of the actor (per Associated Press), "She embodies the character. She's able to do the comedy. She's able to do the drama. And physically, she is a pure athlete and is able to do these stunts in such a graceful, magnificent, beautiful way." Clearly there's no lack of love there, so if Gunn opts to blend Harley into the DCU anytime soon, it'll surely be Robbie who plays the part.

As for the how's and when's of Harely's return, that remains anybody's guess. Robbie herself admitted in a 2022 interview with Den of Geek that a sequel to 2020's "Birds of Prey" is, sadly, not looking likely. Potentially complicating her return is Lady Gaga's reported turn as Harley Quinn in the upcoming "Joker" sequel. Even though Gunn claims that film is set outside the DCU proper, he might be looking to give Gaga's version of the character a moment in the spotlight before bringing Robbie back. For now, fans will just have to wait and see.