Lady Gaga Is The Harley Quinn We Need Right Now


It’s no secret that Warner Bros strategy for DC on the big screen has been – legitimately – often questioned by its fanbase for quite some years. But a new boss is in town now, and we’re all tensely waiting to see what he can do to save cinema-DC. One of Warner Bros. Discovery’s latest choices which has caused quite the surprise was when Lady Gaga was publicly announced as the new actress to portray Harley Quinn in Todd Phillips Joker: Folie à Deux, the sequel to the acclaimed Joker.

Unfortunately, the DCEU’s Harley Quinn has its limits


Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

READ MORE: Lady Gaga Joker 2 Role Details Revealed

While a lot of people don’t understand why another actress than Margot Robbie would portray the harlequin, I think it’s worth remembering that Joker: Folie à Deux doesn’t take place in the same universe as Margot Robbie’s version. This means that there’s no need whatsoever to keep the same actress for continuity’s sake. Robbie’s Harley is evolving in the DCEU timeline, which is a big consequence for the character: her interpretation and representation as Quinn are meant to serve a bigger, more global picture.

This means that her version of the character is unfortunately bound to be restricted in some capacity when it comes to the adaptation of certain comic storylines and tones, for example. You can’t have an R-Rated Harley Quinn if the studio’s goal is to make PG movies to grow box office numbers. As a consequence, they had to write the character a certain way… while abandoning some crucial aspects.

What the DCEU has shown of Harley Quinn

READ MORE: Joker 2 Will Be Largely Set In Arkham Asylum

Robbie is widely accepted and loved as a colourful, fun, eccentric version of Harley in the DCEU. What I think is missing from her characterization, though, is the more profound exploration of her dark, haunted mind. This isn’t Robbie’s fault, of course. She’s been doing a terrific job. The previous regime, however, would be to blame, in my opinion. It’s now known that David Ayer’s Suicide Squad was supposed to initially showcase Harley and Joker’s completely twisted, sick relationship while diving into each other’s psyche.

However, the tone has gradually been changed after complaints of a much too dark tone for Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman. The studio thought it could please the audience by adding more and more funky tones to Suicide Squad, which ended in a much different version of what Harley was supposed to be in the first place for this extended universe.

The DCEU’s Harley has suffered this change ever since. I’m not saying her representation is incorrect: I think it’s incomplete. It is too focused on female empowerment – I’m a woman, hear me out – without first diving into what actually led her to pursue this empowerment: the physical and mental abuse she first suffered. Gone are the representation of all her heavy trauma, her pains, her struggles and her abuse.

The DCEU purposefully skipped all that to directly give us a strong and confident Harley, tinted with a little bit of a troubled mind to make it spicy and exciting to the audience. She’s now a funny gal kicking ass, who we understand has past traumas… we’ve never actually seen. Well, we did see a few seconds of them here and there in the botched theatrical version of Suicide Squad. The DCEU hasn’t cared to dive into it ever again, to directly go to the badass sexualized part of Quinn.

I think this was the biggest disservice to the character as it takes away the part where she prevails from her pains and becomes the badass.

And here comes Lady Gaga, the new Harley Quinn


READ MORE: Christina Ricci Cast As Harley Quinn In New Harley & Joker Series

A lot of people fear that Gaga may replace Robbie, but this isn’t what it’s about, at all. On the one hand, you have Margot Robbie, playing an eccentric version of Harley Quinn for the DCEU. On the other, Lady Gaga. Award-winning actress and one of the greatest performers in the music industry, known for her struggles against mental health issues and her raw, sometimes brutal behaviours onstage. And she now comes to play the clown.

These two talented actresses aren’t in a competition to supplant the other: they’re in a partnership to complete each other.

Remember how dark, melancholic, grim and depressing the tone was in Todd Phillip’s Joker? How slowly the story unfolded, and how heavily troubled Arthur was? I don’t think Robbie’s wacky and energetic Harley fits this dark universe.

And although a lot of people fear the musical side of the sequel, once again let’s remember: with Joker in mind, I think that the sequel will be just as dark, if not even darker, especially because of those twisted musical moments. Now, we’ve heard that those sequences will take place in Harley’s mind and will act as a way for the character to distort her reality as she sees fit. The musical side may, therefore, very well help the disturbing aspect of the movie.

This is why Gaga is perfect. She could play a darker, more tortured, psychologically unstable version in Folie à Deux. Almost an animal-like version. Her talents as an actress aren’t to prove anymore, and I think she’s more than capable of letting the monster out – as she often does – and interpreting a completely out-of-control Harley. She could embody this twisted, dangerous Harley that’s missing from the DCEU.

Having both actresses play different – and just as relevant – versions of the clown would definitely benefit the character’s global legacy on the big screen. More aspects of her would be shown, allowing us to explore even more layers of this very complex character.

What Robbie can’t do in the DCEU, Gaga can do in Todd Phillips’s independent universe. That way, both performers would contribute to representing the character in a fully accurate way without letting anything aside due to ratings issues and box office goals.

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