Concept art for Suicide Squad shows that Harley Quinn could have had a much grittier design in her big-screen debut.
In Suicide Squad, Margot Robbie donned numerous different outfits for her role as the not-so-good-Dr. Harleen Quinzel. While Harley wore her original costume for a scene, her prominent combo of a “Daddy’s Little Monster” baseball t-shirt and short-shorts proved to provoke ire from many moviegoers. However, newly revealed concept art posted to social media by director David Ayer shows that Suicide Squad could have side-stepped this controversy by ditching the shirt for a different look.
The pictures posted by Ayer show a myriad of different looks. Amongst the variations are a body-suit with mesh netting, a brighter jacket and longer shorts. Describing the creative process behind Harley’s attire, Ayer explained, “Many many different designs and concepts were tried out. A director will be presented multiple iterations, often from several artists. Sometimes multiple wardrobe builds are tested. It’s a long process and requires the labor of many talented collaborators.” Despite the divisive discussions surrounding Harley’s clothes, the final product proved to have its fair share of supporters. Five years after Suicide Squad’s release, Harley Quinn is still one of the most popular Halloween costumes.
These photos are the latest releases from Ayer, who continues to tease the “Ayer Cut” of Suicide Squad. Like Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Suicide Squad infamously faced heavy edits ahead of its release, resulting in a version of the film that left fans, critics and Ayer himself with mixed emotions. Over the summer, Ayer showed scenes from Suicide Squad that were cut by the studio, including Jared Leto as the Joker in an extended version of the film’s “circle of knives” scene and a goat-headed goon dressed as a priest.
After the lackluster performance of Suicide Squad, James Gunn was given control of the franchise. Though it didn’t directly contradict Ayer’s production, The Suicide Squad was considered a “soft reboot,” with a new cast of characters and few references to Task Force X’s first blockbuster. Along with these changes, Harley Quinn was completely reimagined, with Robbie dropping her baseball bat and jewelry for an Injustice-inspired design.
Harley’s next appearance is rumored to take place in Batgirl, starring Leslie Grace. The film also features the return of J.K. Simmons as Commissioner James Gordon, implying that this film will be set within the same DC Extended Universe that houses Suicide Squad. It will be directed by Adil El Erbi and Bilall Fallah based on a script by Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) writer Christina Hodson, adding fuel to the fire that Robbie’s Harley Quinn will factor into the film in some capacity. Batgirl is tentatively set to be released via HBO Max in 2022.