While director James Gunn has started production on The Suicide Squad, the most recent addition to the DC Extended Universe. The new film will feature a multitude of characters never before seen in live-action, alongside a few returning figures from the first Suicide Squad, including Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn. However, many of the new characters have yet to be confirmed as of this writing. While we've already gotten our first glimpse of the film's cast, the identities of the characters they'll be portraying have yet to be revealed.
Of all the DC characters who should join the team, however, one stands out: Poison Ivy. The iconic villain hasn't been seen in live-action on the big screen since Batman & Robin, and the character remains a fan-favorite. In addition to having appeared on the team in comics, Poison Ivy would make a terrific addition to the cinematic team because of her wide name-recognition and unique abilities, but also because she would be able to offer Harley a loving relationship after splitting with the Joker.
Poison Ivy is an eco-terrorist who wants to upturn the status quo by demolishing humanity's destructive grasp on the environment. While she was at first a villain, over the years writers have softened her considerably. In the '60s, people might have felt more threatened by a powerful woman telling industrial society to slow down or stop. In 2019, however, Poison Ivy's environmental motivations are far more sympathetic.
With Suicide Squad, the villains are often self-serving or motivated by greed -- until Amanda Waller forcibly compels the super-criminals to comply with her orders. The concept of the Suicide Squad is so interesting because it forces a bunch of villains who don't mesh well to work against some greater threat, and their individual motivations also play factors in their overall story.
In the first Suicide Squad movie, Deadshot's motivations gave the story some degree of emotional resonance, even if, on the whole, the film failed. If Gunn is hoping to make a superior sequel, he will know to strengthen the idea that every character in the film is the hero of their own story.
As such, Poison Ivy's motivations beyond just being a member of the Squad could be a huge factor in her characterization on the Suicide Squad. Audiences might either identify or empathize with her motivations, and her powers about her could make her as intimidating as ever.
In the last Suicide Squad film, we saw members of the Squad who hit things with bats, fired bullets, punched things hard in the face, had a sword that sucked souls and could launch fire. None of these characters would usually be considered be considered powerhouses, but Poison Ivy's powers are so unique and so spectacular that might turn the tide of battle in dramatic special effects sequences.
Poison Ivy's manipulation of plants and toxins makes her a unique addition to Batman's rogues gallery. On the Suicide Squad, she could use her abilities to manipulate people for information, combat greater threats with tendrils of vegetation, and even, on occasion, kiss people to death.
Harley and Ivy
However, on top of being a great potential member of the team, Ivy's secondary contribution to the Squad won't be how many people she can poison or smash. It will be giving Harley a loving relationship after getting over her last ex.
Harley Quinn is canonically bisexual. While that has been apparent, to some extent, since her early appearances Batman: The Animated Series, the first film, Suicide Squad, gave no indication of this. Despite her most iconic relationship being with the Joker, Harley later breaks up with the Joker after finding comfort in the arms of Poison Ivy, who respects her needs and wants the best for Harley, recognizing the toxic environment she's lived in. After this was teased in the cartoon, the comics went further with this idea and made it explicit.
For many, this storyline -- where Harley and Ivy grow close and bond -- is a turning point for both characters. Before this, Poison Ivy could be taken as a caricature of the left, embodying all the concerns of feminism and environmentalism dialed up to eleven. By showing genuine care for another person's needs and well-being, and then offering a sanctuary for that person without asking anything in return, Ivy endeared herself to a lot of people.
Likewise, Harley Quinn moved away from her obviously abusive relationship with the Joker, finding her true sense of self after being in such an abusive, dangerous situation. It reminded viewers that the Joker is, despite being so beloved as a character, an ultimately horrendous person.
Bringing Harley and Ivy to the Big Screen
Taken together, Harley's arc from Suicide Squad to Birds of Prey to The Suicide Squad seems to be building up to Harley getting a girlfriend.
Reportedly, Harley will be breaking up with Joker in Birds of Prey after running away with him at the end of Suicide Squad. The following film will feature her finding her own place in the world among other strong women. It's a great opportunity for her to branch out as a character, exploring what makes her so special and incredible.
But without the Joker, she is free to explore new relationships. Such as the one with Poison Ivy that led to her finding a place where someone loves and respects her. The arc is building up to Harley finding self-actualization by understanding that she deserves a loving, good, healthy relationship. Ultimately, in a story about found family, this idea of Harley and Ivy coming together just makes sense.
Written and directed by James Gunn, The Suicide Squad is set to hit theaters Aug. 6, 2021. The film will star Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flagg and Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang. Also joining the cast are David Dastmalchian, John Cena, Joaquin Cosio, Nathan Fillion, Mayling Ng, Flula Borg, Sean Gunn, Juan Diego Botto, Storm Reid, Pete Davidson, Taika Waititi, Alice Braga, Steve Agee, Tinashe Kajese, Daniela Melchior, Peter Capaldi, Julio Ruiz, Jennifer Holland, Idris Elba and Michael Rooker.