'Suicide Squad’ Movie Needs More Female Members Than Just Harley Quinn
Ah, DC, the current apple of my eye. Where other fans of comic books or comic book movies tend to pick one distributer and stick with them, I love my Batman and my Iron Man, my Catwoman and my Black Widow. The only time I care what universe/company a character is coming from is when it prevents me from seeing Spider-Man in the Captain America: Civil War movie. As we draw closer to DC's upcoming ensemble film, Suicide Squad, I am both excited and nervous. DC's addition of movies with a queer actor, an actor of color, and a female leading her own film might have put them a cut above Marvel in the upcoming movies line-up competition, but the cast in final talks for the Suicide Squad is, well, overwhelmingly male. Admittedly, that's not unusual for the comics, but the only female in the set is Margot Robbie a.k.a. Harley Quinn and, as much as I love Harley, she has never been the only woman involved with the Squad. I really don't want that to start now.
Harley Quinn joined the Suicide Squad in 2011 (publication wise) and ran with them until 2014, when she joined the New Suicide Squad for a New 52 relaunch. For those who aren't in the know, the Suicide Squad is a collection of villains and anti-heros who complete secret suicide missions for the government in exchange for commuted prison sentences. In her original stint on the Squad, Harley was an active agent under government operative and director Amanda Waller. In the relaunch, she is joined on missions by Joker's Daughter (real name Duela Dent) and still acts under Amanda Waller's leadership.
However, the current cast rumored to be in talks for the film are Margot Robbie, Jared Leto (as the Joker), Tom Hardy, and Jai Courtney — and that's it. Where are the rest of the ladies? According to The Hollywood Reporter, pre-production for the film begins in Toronto in February and shooting actually begins in April, so it seems like kind of a glaring error that they have yet to cast, or have someone in talks for, the role of Amanda Waller. She's the actual leader of the team (and a female of color), so you can just imagine how invested I am in her appearance in the movie and in who exactly will be playing her. The fact that we don't even have a vague hint that she's being cast makes me very, very nervous.
Honestly, the New 52's Suicide Squad might be recent, but I would still love to see Joker's Daughter in the film. I just want them to give Harley Quinn a female villain to play off of during missions, even if the film can pass the Bechdel Test just as well by having Harley talk to the Wall (as Amanda is sometimes called) for briefings. I know diversity in comic book films is a lot to ask for in our modern world of buff white male hero after buff white male hero coming to the box office, but DC has given me high expectations. I can't and won't stand for Harley to be the only female member involved with the Squad, especially when it's not like that right now in the comics.
I'm excited to see Harley Quinn appearing in her first film, but her ensemble cast should also be worthy of that appearance. Yes, Harley's relationship with the Joker is a key part of her characterization, development, and origin — but she grew beyond him to gain her own friends, her own life, and her own cast to play off of. By Batman's own reckoning, she came closer to killing him than the Joker ever did. So is it too much to ask that Harley be given a lady friendship on the Squad so we can see her develop even further? I'm trying not to ask for Poison Ivy in the film, since Ivy and Harley were never on the Squad at the same time, but if shoehorning her into the movie is the only way to make sure that Harley isn't the only girl in the boys' club, then I'm willing to take that risk with comic canon.
At the end of the day, there's no way they can have a Suicide Squad film without Amanda Waller, the woman who brought the Squad together to begin with. It's just not possible. Perhaps the delay in announcing who is in the running for the role is because the role is so important that the decision-making process needs to take even longer. However, even if the announcement of an Amanda Waller actress is forthcoming, they should still consider adding another lady to the Suicide Squad. Why? I think the real question here is why not?