There’s no denying who DC’s current golden girl is…. it’s Harley Quinn. The character has seen a huge rise in the spotlight over the past 15 years, with the Joker’s partner in crime growing from a simple Batman villain to one of the most popular faces in all of entertainment.
When Suicide Squad made its debut in 2016 (the bad one), it didn’t take long for Margot Robbie’s iteration of the character to become the favorite Halloween costume for many. Whoever made those Daddy’s Lil Monster shirts and Puddin’ necklaces must have made an absolute fortune. Add to that a growing presence in Rocksteady’s Arkham titles between 2009 and 2015, and now a starring role in the upcoming Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, as well as being a major presence in Todd Phillips’ Joker: Folie à Deux with Lady Gaga putting her spin on the character while helming an animated series that continues to thrive on HBO Max, Harley has been incredibly hard at work over the past 15 years.
You may be wondering what I’m referring to, and simply put, it’s this: Harley Quinn needs to go on vacation. I love Harley as much as the next person, but it’s time for her to take a break, retire from the spotlight and let someone else thrive for a while. DC has a plentiful and huge list of other characters who can fill the void while Harley takes a well-deserved breather, and I think fans around the world will understand that as they learn more about some of the other available options.
Assuming we stick with the mean trend that many seemed to like about Harley, here are a few other great options that could thrive if given the chance.
You don’t even have to look far to find a great alternative. In many adaptations, Harley and Poison Ivy are intertwined in a relationship, and that’s just one of the many ways the two are connected. They both despise the Batman, they both prefer a lawless approach to life, they are similar in many ways. So, while Harley goes away for a while, why not leave the trouble-making to Ivy and her botanical army? There is a lot of potential for this character, and frankly, besides serving as Harley’s counterpart in HBO’s animated series, being a recurring face in the Arkham games and seeing Uma Thurman portray her in the absolute disaster that was 1997’s Batman & Robin, we haven’t really seen the character much in the broader entertainment space.
Talia al Ghul
DC followers will be very familiar with this character, but many casual fans may be much less familiar with who she is. Of course, Talia appeared in The Dark Knight Rises with Marion Cotillard portraying the character, as a minor role in the Arrowverse, and also in the Arkham games as a thorn in Bruce’s side, but she never really came to the forefront for DC. It’s all very strange that this has never happened, because Talia has tons of potential. She has connections and complex relationships with many great heroes and villains. She is a mistress of Batman, the daughter of the leader of the League of Shadows, the immortal Ra’s al Ghul, and has ties to Bane and Lex Luthor. So while she is expertly trained and very dangerous, she also has many unique storylines and narrative branches that can be explored.
Most comic book fans should recognize the name Wilson and will absolutely be familiar with Deathstroke. This iconic villain has been an issue for many heroes in the DC world for years, but what many probably don’t know is that Slade Wilson has a daughter of his own, Rose. She has never actually played a serious role in DC’s broader entertainment sector outside of comics, so there are numerous interesting ways to grow this character without stepping on anyone’s toes. Sure, Rose was a leading antagonist in the children’s show, Teen Titans Go! but otherwise she has often been overlooked, which is a shame because she is sassy, unhinged and an ideal antagonist for many of DC’s most popular heroines.
Going into the Teen Titans -theme, we would be remiss not to mention Raven. Sure, this character is often seen as a hero, and yes, she was a leading figure in the Titans -series, but just because she has had a few more serious roles and often works for the good guys doesn’t mean she doesn’t also have a dark side. Raven is the daughter of the demon Trigon, and as you might expect, that means she has a little bad blood running through her veins. She does crazy and weird things, and there are storylines of Raven going completely evil, showing that she has the potential to cause a lot of trouble for the good guys. People know and recognize Raven, so she may be one of the best Harley replacements out there, because it takes less work and effort to build a story base that casual fans can associate with.
We saved this character until last because it is probably the one most of us would expect. Catwoman is well known thanks to various appearances over the years in a multitude of mediums. Be it the pretty awful Halle Berry solo movie, Michelle Pfeiffer’s famous rendition in Batman Returns, Zoë Kravitz adaptation of The Batman, the constant presence in the Arkham games, Anne Hathaway’s version in The Dark Knight Rises, the list goes on and on. Catwoman has never really been out of the spotlight, but at the same time, unlike Harley, she has never really been in it either. Catwoman has always existed in that gray area, and maybe it’s time for her to stretch her legs and take her place as a leading DC character.
There’s a great place for Harley in the future, but we’re dangerously close to being very tired with the character, so let’s get to the end of 2024, get Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, Joker: Folie à Deux and another season of Harley Quinn on the books, and then pass the baton to someone else for at least a few years.