Although the DCEU's future schedule has been thrown into disarray after Justice League underperformed both critically and commercially, one thing's for certain: Warner Bros. are all in on Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn. Despite debuting in the similarly-disappointing Suicide Squad, Harley has become something of a cultural phenomenon - just look at the amount of people mimicking her signature style every Halloween for proof - with the studio banking on her to revitalise their flagging cinematic universe.
Multiple spinoffs starring the character are currently in various stages of development, including David Ayer's Gotham City Sirens and a Joker/Harley flick, but the one poised to drop first is Cathy Yan's Birds of Prey. Little is known about the project as of yet, but now new details have been revealed courtesy of Robbie herself. Speaking with Collider, the actress and producer on the film teased its potential R-rating, saying:
"I pitched the idea of an R-rated girl gang film including Harley, because I was like, ‘Harley needs friends.’ Harley loves interacting with people, so don’t ever make her do a standalone film. She’s got to be with other people, it should be a girl gang. I wasn’t seeing enough girl gangs on screen, especially in the action space. So that was always a big part of it."
While not always the case, R-rated superhero movies have proven to be a bankable concept, with Fox's Deadpool and Logan revitalising the X-Men brand, but so far neither Marvel nor DC have properly committed to experimenting with it themselves (outside of the extended cut of Batman v Superman, which wasn't made with the rating in mind). Arguably, this creative freedom and confidence from the studio in creating films with a sharper edge could have helped movies like Suicide Squad find a distinct identity.
Though this isn't the approach the studio is guaranteed to take, it should be noted that Robbie is a producer on the film, which gives her ideas and input a lot of weight. If she's committed to the idea and Yan is on board, that could be enough to give WB the push they need to test the waters with a more explicit DCEU flick. Even if it fails, they've got about 10 other Harley projects to fall back on, anyway.