Before there was the DC Extended Universe in live-action cinema, there was the DC Animated Universe – a notable multimedia collection of animated tales based on DC Comics properties. It was the DC Animated Universe that gave birth to the now iconic, fan favourite character, Harley Quinn – who was introduced in Batman: The Animated Series in 1992. Since 2014, DC has been releasing original animated movies that have grown in profile but, now that Harley Quinn is set for a co-lead role in the upcoming Batman And Harley Quinn, newly released casting details may be surprising to some fans.
There’s no director confirmed just yet, but Batman: The Animated Series co-creator Bruce Timm is on board as executive producer. This being the case, the most striking thing to note about Batman And Harley Quinn is the fact that the style seen in early images from the film is clearly reminiscent of that used in the 1992 television show that debuted the Quinn character. In addition, the film will see Kevin Conroy and Loren Lester return to voice the roles of Batman and Nightwing respectively, in which they so excelled in Batman: The Animated Series – and many versions since.
So, with Batman And Harley Quinn being something of a return to Batman: The Animated Series thus far, what of the casting for Harley Quinn? Fans will be hoping for Arleen Sorkin – the original voice, and part inspiration for the beloved character. Perhaps Tara Strong – who later assumed the vocal mantle of the Clown Princess Of Crime in other animated projects, and successfully put her own spin on it. Or, even Hynden Walch, who gave voice to Harley in The Batman, and Batman: Assault On Arkham. But no – in a surprising choice, Melissa Rauch from The Big Bang Theory will be voicing Harley Quinn, and she recently explained her excitement about the role to the press.
“I love that Harley is a badass and, beyond that, that she uses her humor as another weapon in her arsenal. She knows just how to diffuse a situation with her humor, and how to incite a situation with her sarcasm. It’s a dream role.
“I knew Harley had a higher pitched tone, and a bit of a New York accent — and I come from a New Jersey family where everyone could be former gun molls. So I wanted to give a nod to my background without being as shrill. In all honesty, I used to speak exactly like that — my acting school professors really worked the accent out of me. So it was fun to find those tones and accent again.”
While it’s indeed an odd move to bring back two fan favourite male leads, the executive producer, and the style of a past project while essentially re-casting the female role, Batman And Harley Quinn remains an exciting prospect – particularly with additional casting announcements that include Paget Brewster as Poison Ivy, and John DiMaggio as Swamp Thing. Evidently, Batman, Nightwing and Harley Quinn will be forced to reluctantly unite in an attempt to prevent some dastardly calamity, as Ivy and Swamp Thing pool their own heinous resources. With this DC Animated Movie on the horizon, summer 2017 is looking most enjoyable indeed.