The wonderfully eccentrically titled Birds of Prey (and the fantabulous emancipation of Harley Quinn) writer, Christina Hodson, has provided some clarity as to where the film sits with regards to it's sort-of-predecessor. Hodson recently spoke about the spin-off, discussing her approach to making the movie, and has said that Birds of Prey will continue the story of Harley Quinn, describing it as a 'standalone story' as opposed to a direct sequel to David Ayer's bad guy team-up, 2016's Suicide Squad.

Christina Hodson went on to describe how she wanted to write a story that could progress Harley Quinn's story, without following any particular narrative that came before.

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"Obviously, yes, it's a character we have met before, but it's really its own story, and that's kind of how I approached it. I just tried to take myself off-leash. I fell in love with this character, and then all of these other new characters. And I just created a brand new story that felt like its own thing, and that doesn't have to feel like it follows one or the other."

This standalone approach will instead allow Hodson the freedom necessary, while at the same time bringing back the version of Harley Quinn that was such a highlight in Suicide Squad. Academy Award nominated actress, Margot Robbie, was a huge part of that appeal and she will of course be returning to the role, though this time with a few differences.

The official snapshots so far looks to be continuing much of the same approach to Quinn and her kooky wardrobe, but the more eagle-eyed fans will have noticed that a tattoo referencing the Joker has now been crossed out. The word 'emancipation' in the film's full title further suggests that this Harley Quinn will be without her beloved puddin'. This gives Quinn a fresh appraoch going into Birds of Prey, and moves the movie away from the potential narrative trappings of Suicide Squad.

Treating the film as its own entity is not much of a surprise as audiences first big screen introduction to the Squad may have done well financially speaking, making a very profitable $750 million, but was sadly despised by critics, adding the constant critical failings of DC big screen output.

Birds of Prey is not the only DC movie that has decided to stand alone rather than tie itself to the tethers of the wider, shared cinematic universe. The upcoming Wonder Woman 1984 has also avoided being a straight follow-up, with it being described as "not a sequel", according to director Patty Jenkins, this despite the returning cast, specifically Gal Gadot and Chris Pine, both reprising their roles from the 2017 origin story.

Alongside Matt Reeve's much anticipated Batman film going back to the early days of the Caped Crusader, it seems as if the DC cinematic universe has all but collapsed, and perhaps this is the best approach to these beloved comic book characters going forward. This news originated on Total Film.

Jon Fuge at Movieweb
Jon Fuge