The first phase / Zack Snyder era of the DCEU was disappointing. These aren’t just the words of one writer. Films like Man of Steel, Batman V Superman, Suicide Squad and Justice League all not only received mixed to scathing reviews, but also massively underperformed at the box office. However, over the past couple of years or so, the DCEU (and DC movies in general) has finally found its stride. The likes of Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Shazam and Joker have not only exceeded all expectations at the global box office but have also received largely positive reviews.
That said, the overall creative direction of the DCEU / DC still remains unclear. Do we have two separate universes with two different Jokers? An R-rated universe and a PG-13 one? That doesn’t seem to be the exact case as the upcoming Birds of Prey will also be rated-R. Will Robert Pattinson’s Batman be a part of the DCEU? In Batman V Superman, it’s said that Wonder Woman gave up on humans after World War I, but Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman film tells us a different story. And then there’s James Gunn’s Suicide Squad, which isn’t a sequel, but a reboot, only with some of the same actors from the first film set to reprise their roles. I can only imagine how the more casual fans must feel reading this.
However, it looks like we might have finally gotten some answers. In an interview with Collider, director of Birds of Prey, Cathy Yan mentioned that her upcoming film will sort of take place in a universe parallel to that of David Ayer’s Suicide Squad. When asked about the challenges of making a movie on a pre-established character, Yan had this to say:
Yeah. It’s definitely a challenge because you wanna pay homage to not just the comic books, but then also the films before it and obviously we’ve seen Margot play Harley before in [Ayer’s] Suicide Squad. And so it’s definitely a fun challenge to figure out like what do we keep from that version of Harley and what we differentiate. I think that given what the story’s about and her emancipation and that she’s out on her own, she’s not gonna do the Joker and with Suicide Squad she’s so connected to the Joker. I mean, their story is so intertwined. It really is their love story if you will. But this is not. And so I think that gave us a lot of opportunity to say, what is she like, not necessarily post-Joker but just in almost like a parallel universe, and allowed I think all of us the freedom to say like we’re gonna create a different Gotham.
Cathy Yan doubled down on her statement when she was asked if we’ll see how much time has passed since we previously saw her in Ayer’s Suicide Squad.
There is not any known amount of time. No. It kind of exists in a parallel timeline.
This is very, very interesting. Considering Suicide Squad is also undergoing a reboot, it’s highly possible that the entire post-Snyder DCEU secretly takes place in an alternate timeline. A timeline where Batman doesn’t look like Ben Affleck, but like Robert Pattinson. Are Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman and Wan’s Aquaman part of the alternate timeline too? It would be a smart way to explain a lot of the minor inconsistencies as well (i.e. in Justice League, Mera and Arthur had to conjure up a bubble around themselves to talk underwater, but this concept is completely disregarded in James Wan’s Aquaman).
Birds of Prey hits cinemas in February 2020.