The first full-length trailer for Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) heralds the long-awaited return of Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, the breakout star of 2016's Suicide Squad. The footage promises a wild adventure through the streets of Gotham as Dr. Harleen Quinzel distances herself from her relationship with the Joker, symbolized not only by the hand-drawn target on her apartment wall, but also in the destruction of a location key to the traditional origin of the Clown Prince of Crime.
While the trailer raises a lot of questions, one thing is clear: Despite the presence of characters like Black Canary, Huntress, Renee Montoya and Cassandra Cain, this is Harley's film. She may be anguished in the opening moments about her split with the Joker, but in one of the final scenes, she's absolutely joyous about her newfound freedom as she walks toward the camera, smiling, as a fire rages behind her. Although the names of Robbie and her co-stars may be distracting, look past them to see the source of the explosion: Ace Chemicals, long depicted as the place where the criminal the Red Hood fell into a vat of chemicals, and emerged as the Joker.
Yes, in Birds of Prey, Harley will at some point raze the plant that not only gave birth to the Joker, but to her villainous alter ego as well, as seen in flashback segments of 2016's Suicide Squad. The destruction of Ace Chemicals is noteworthy not just because of the building's importance in Batman mythology, but also for its symbolic nature: The Joker may not appear in the film, but the chemical plant is virtually synonymous with him. Harley destroying Ace represents her cutting ties with that part of her life.
What's more, it ties into an Easter egg from Shazam!, in a scene in which Freddy Freeman films the budding superhero as he tests his newfound powers in the ruins of an abandoned warehouse whose sign reads "Ace Chemicals."
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, Charlene Amoia, Chris Messina and Matthew Willig. The film is scheduled for release on Feb. 7, 2020.