The more we see from David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, the more it seems like the film will focus heavily on Harley Quinn. As a longtime fan of the character, I hope this is the case, and the latest set photo certainly appears to reinforce that idea, giving us a little hint at the character’s origin story. Though it’s a bit different than you might think.

Margot Robbie’s stunt double posted this photo to Instagram (via Birth.Movies.Death) before quickly removing it, which means that it’s pretty important:


Harley Quinn (aka Dr. Harleen Quinzel) was created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm, and made her debut in Batman: The Animated Series. Due to her popularity, she went on to appear in the Batman comics (notably appearing in Hush), as well as the Birds of Prey books and Suicide Squad, of course.

You may recognize the Ace Chemicals logo in that photo, which is a part of the Joker’s origin story — those chemicals were responsible for bleaching his skin and changing his hair. As BMD and MoviePilot point out, it seems that Ayer’s Suicide Squad is taking Harley Quinn’s origin story from the Suicide Squad comics. In that story, the Joker tossed Harleen Quinzel into the chemicals, subjecting her to a similar transformation. The mentally troubled Harley devotes herself whole-heartedly to the Joker, and goes on a murderous rampage to take revenge on those responsible for having him locked up in Arkham Asylum.

It’s unclear just how much Ayer plans to use of this story, which could translate into something a bit troubling on screen — as has been pointed out elsewhere, the Harley Quinn origin story depicts an abused woman who becomes hopelessly devoted to her abuser. To pull off that story properly, Ayer would need to explore the psychology of abusive relationships, but if not handled correctly, it has the potential to cause some problems with audiences.

On the other hand, the first footage from the film didn’t exactly paint Robbie’s version of Harley Quinn as a victim, and you get the impression that she’s pretty independent from the Joker. The pair didn’t share a single scene together in that footage, and while that may not mean anything, I get the idea that even though Ayer is using this new comic book origin for Harley Quinn, he’s also changing it up a bit to give her more of a separate identity. In addition, the footage teased a relationship between Harleen Quinzel and Rick Flag prior to her transformation into Harley Quinn, a plot point not included in the comics.

Fingers crossed, but we’ll see what’s what when Suicide Squad hits theaters on August 5, 2016.

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