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Suicide Squad 2: Harley Quinn reportedly won't be in James Gunn-written sequel

Is Gotham's resident Mistress of Mischief sitting out of the Suicide Squad sequel? A new report by Forbes claims that's the case. 

Published on Wednesday, February 13, the Forbes story takes a dive into the current state of the DC Extended Universe and discusses how the projects Warner Bros. and DC Films have in the works and the ones that the studios will roll out in the near future (including Shazam!, the Joaquin Phoenix-led Joker, and Wonder Woman 1984 to name but a few) might set the sprawling superhero franchise up for unprecedented success and a sparkling future. Author Mark Hughes, a television and film screenwriter and contributor at Forbes, touched on in-development features like the just-announced Aquaman spin-off The Trench and the girl-powered ensemble flick Birds of Prey, then moved to discuss Suicide Squad 2, which has former Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 director James Gunn attached to pen the script.

The biggest takeaway from Hughes' comments on the Gunn-written Suicide Squad sequel is that Harley Quinn reportedly won't be involved. 

As the film is being described as a "sort of soft reboot," it isn't expected to connect to the events of the original Suicide Squad, directed by David Ayer. Hughes noted that the sequel is said to include "a new cast of characters" and will "avoid direct tie-in" to the first film. 

A major consequence of wiping the slate clean and creating distance between the first and second Suicide Squad movies is that Harley is no longer expected to return. Gunn has reportedly taken a "new approach" to the burgeoning Suicide Squad film series, and has created a script that serves as a "rethinking of the property." 

While Warner Bros. hasn't confirmed whether Gunn is truly standing behind the helm to direct Suicide Squad 2Deadline previously reported that he is in talks for the gig. Hughes, on the other hand, described Gunn as definitively being "on board as director," and detailed that the forthcoming sequel will give Gunn "plenty of room to bring a new flavor to the series and to the world of DC films as well." Whatever this new flavor might be, it's apparently Harley Quinn-free. 

Hearing that Harley might be kicked off the Suicide Squad roster for the impending sequel is disappointing but not surprising. She remains an important part of the DCEU regardless of her connections to the Suicide Squad property, as Margot Robbie will portray her in Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) that's set for release on February 7, 2020. Should Warner Bros. go through with the other Joker and Harley Quinn-focused features it has cooking up, Robbie will again bring her cutesy criminal to the big screen time and again. She could re-join the Suicide Squad later on, but she's tied up with other commitments for the time being.

Looking beyond Harley, that Suicide Squad 2 will reportedly center on a new crew of rabble-rousers says a lot about where Gunn plans to take the property. The filmmaker made a major name for himself with his Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, electrifying the OG movie and its sequel with his quirky sense of humor, distinctive storytelling style, and unique directorial choices. Now that he's no longer able to complete his Guardians trilogy, having been fired from Vol. 3 in July of 2018 after offensive past tweets of him resurfaced, Gunn is probably looking to infuse the Suicide Squad series with some of the same high energy and unabashed fun that made the Guardians movies so entertaining. 

Since also managed to turn the Guardians of the Galaxy crew into mainstays in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where they had once been rather obscure characters in the Marvel Comics world, the mention of Gunn's script being a "new approach" that features "a new cast of characters" suggests that he might pull some underappreciated heroes and villains from the DC Comics gallery for Suicide Squad 2. After seeing critics flambé Suicide Squad, Warner Bros. could be open to Gunn overhauling the property, making something fresh and hopefully more well-received (from reviewers, anyway) — even if that means doing away with Harley.

Before we or any of you readers out there put the cart ahead of the horse, let's take a step back and remember that this is just an unconfirmed report for right now. We can infer plausibility from it just comparing it to what we know about Gunn's movie-making methods and the response critics had to the first Suicide Squad, but, again, no one directly involved with the Suicide Squad sequel has made any sort of comment on Harley's involvement or lack thereof in the new movie. 

Until that day comes, sit back, relax, and read up on all the reasons why Harley Quinn is more important than we realized.