Harley Quinn is intrinsicly linked to the Clown Prince of Crime considering he created her and she fell manically in love with him, as seen in 2016’s Suicide Squad movie, but Birds of Prey picks up after Harley and Joker have broken up, which is why he won’t appear. Although, as the trailers have shown, the Joker’s presence will still be felt in the upcoming movie, as we see Harley throwing knives at a drawing of Joker and we watch as Harley seemingly blows up ACE Chemicals, the place where Joker fell into a vat of acid as part of his origin story and where he gave Harley her own villainous baptism.
DC Extended Universe: Every Upcoming Movie
Robbie also explained how she didn’t understand why Harley Quinn would stay in a relationship with the Joker, who “wants to kill her most of the time.” In the comics, Harley eventually leaves the Joker behind and makes it on her own as a fourth-wall-breaking anti-hero, so the film appears to be following a similar track for the character.
This news tracks with what Birds of Pray screenwriter Christina Hodson said about the film being a standalone story rather than a sequel to Suicide Squad. “It’s a character we have met before, but it’s really its own story, and that’s kind of how I approached it,” Hodson said. “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.”
Breaking free from the past seems to be the way Warner Bros. is approaching their new wave of DC films. Similarly, James Gunn’s Suicide Squad movie isn’t “Suicide Squad 2” and is more of a reboot, which is why it’s simply titled The Suicide Squad.
For a breakdown of everything you need to know about Birds of Prey, check out the video below: