The DC Extended Universe is under heavy scrutiny following the poor reception to Justice League, both critically and financially. Rumors persisted that Warner Bros.' future slate would actually depend on that movie's performance and at Comic Con Experience 2017 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, an updated film lineup was provided.
This came after reports that a shake-up was imminent and immediately, a few omissions caught the eye. The movies revolving around Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and Joker (Jared Leto) were among those removed: Gotham City Sirens, a Harley Quinn solo flick (with Robbie onboard as executive producer), Joker & Harley Quinn, and the Joker origin movie produced by Martin Scorsese.
Now, we know that David Ayer's Suicide Squad wasn't spectacular but it had some redeeming moments with these characters, more specifically those with Robbie's psychiatrist-turned-psycho killer. Leto's Joker, while polarizing, still had amazing chemistry with her and showed potential for future films. That's why, with Warner Bros. desperately searching for that formula to outdo Marvel Studios, it came as no surprise that this unconventional yet iconic pair was seen as part of the solution. Taking them off the slate, however, seems like a regressive move.
While being left out doesn't necessarily mean these films won't get made, there are a few reasons we believe the studio should push on with its Harley and Joker stories sooner rather than later, for the better of the DCEU.
They Expand the DCEU's Grounded Universe
Focusing on Harley and Joker would allow the DCEU to shift away from gods and aliens, and lean more towards its pool of (relatively) realistic characters. Harley did fight off the Enchantress and her supernatural monsters in Suicide Squad, but a grounded and street-level approach to both criminals has a lot more potential.
We're not sure if Suicide Squad 2 will deal with them being hunted by Amanda Waller's unit but what Warner Bros. can do in a separate corner of the DCEU is tie them to the Bat-family via stories there that are a bit more comic faithful. This would create high-profile entry points for Bruce Wayne's proteges such as Tim Drake (Robin), the Red Hood and Barbara Gordon's Batgirl, and allow us to see the Bat-family at work.
Stories involving Harley and Joker dealing with other DC mercenaries and gangsters to expand their criminal empire could also serve as a gateway, not just for upcoming Batman solo movies, but for other vigilantes such as Green Arrow, Black Canary and Huntress. The latter two can even team up with Batgirl to form the Birds of Prey as per the comics. As one can see, building around Harley and Joker could even pave the way for Nightwing and Deathstroke (both also left off the updated film slate) to appear.