Birds of Prey is being set up as very much it's own beast. Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) will be the only holdover from Suicide Squad, and the film is much more about the heroic women of Gotham City than Batman.
But little clues from the newly released teaser video and a promotional picture hint that, even if he isn't playing a major role in the film, the Dark Knight's presence will be felt. So, what role is Batman going to play in Birds of Prey?
Things To Come
The newly released teaser for the film gave fans their first (brief) look at the new additions to the DC Extended Universe. However, among the flashes of Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) and Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) were two clues that could hint at the potential story of the movie.
Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco) is seen briefly in the teaser, wearing a cast over one of her arms. A number of phrases are written across it, including most notably a reference to Gotham City. This seems to imply that the film will be taking place in the city, which shouldn't come as a big surprise. The team primarily works in the city in their comic book appearances, and many confirmed characters (like Black Mask and Renee Montoya) have deep connections to Gotham.
Another potential clue is hidden in the promotional picture shared by Robbie over social media just before the teaser was released. Posed as a selfie of Harley Quinn in costume, she can be seen wearing a dog tag as a necklace. The name on the tag? Bruce. There aren't many characters named Bruce in the DC Universe, with the most famous obviously being Bruce Wayne. So, when Harley Quinn starts wearing something with that name on it, it stands out.
What This Could Mean
It's likely Batman will at least be a presence in the film, but Birds of Prey doesn't seem all that concerned with the character. If anything, it seems like Gotham's protector will appear in a cameo at most. But the dog tag implies that we might at least be seeing some take on Bruce Wayne. Why is Harley wearing it? We doubt that she knows Bruce is Batman. That would be a huge leap from her previous depiction, or really almost any take on the character.
The dog tag could just be an Easter egg for eagle-eyed fans, but it's so prominent that we think it might speak to something about the plot. Earlier reports on the film suggested that there would be a "girl gang" aspect to the project, which could easily translate to the tone being reminiscent of a heist film. If so, the dog tag could actually be a clue as to one of the targets of said heist: Bruce Wayne.
It's not without precedent for Harley, either. As part of the Batman Adventures Holiday Special, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy kidnapped Bruce Wayne to use his bank account for a massive spending spree. He's the perfect target for the girls to try and rob, especially if they need a lot of money, fast. It could even be how Harley attracts the attention of heroes like Black Canary and Huntress before revealing why she's trying to kidnap Bruce and getting them on board with her plan.
The dog tag might just be a piece of her costume, much like how the "damaged" tattoos on Jared Leto's Joker were just for show. But it could also be our best clue about the actual plot of the film, and could give us a chance to observe Bruce Wayne in a completely different light than we've typically seen: A target, and even potentially as an antagonist to Harley.
Directed by Cathy Yan from a script by Christina Hodson, Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) stars Margot Robbie, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosie Perez, Ewan McGregor, Steven Williams, Derek Wilson, Dana Lee, Francois Chau, Chris Messina and Matthew Willig. It is scheduled to be released on Feb. 7, 2020.