Why Harley Quinn Season 3 Couldn’t Make Fun of Marvel

By Russ Milheim Posted:
Harley Quinn Marvel DC

Harley Quinn is all the rage these days, and for good reason. She’s a fantastic addition to DC Comics; character library and just plain fun to follow on adventures. Thanks to Margot Robbie’s take on Quinn, her popularity has skyrocketed. But those live-action appearances aren’t the only Harley projects worthy of attention; fans should probably make sure her HBO Max animated show is on their radars.

The series is getting ready to launch its third season later in July, and a newly released trailer promises plenty of mischief. From an insane honeymoon to the Court of Owls’ orgy parties and even James Gunn as himself—the writers are pulling out all the stops.

With James Gunn's appearance in this show, it’s hard not to wonder if his role could lean to some Marvel nods during the upcoming third season. Sadly, it seems the writers have confirmed that there won’t be any references to the MCU or otherwise in Harley’s third outing.

Harley Couldn't Joke About Marvel

Harley Quinn Marvel Cinematic Universe
Marvel & DC

During an Instagram Live AMA, Harley Quinn writers Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker talked about James Gunn's cameo in the upcoming third season and also how they had to avoid joking about Marvel and their world.

Schumacker mentions how James Gunn is directing a Thomas Wayne biopic when he appears, and that he actually had to have the director record his lines in Vancouver, where he was busy shooting Peacemaker:

“Yeah, that was pretty wild. What was it like…? It was remote, because he was up in Vancouver shooting Peacemaker at the time. But yeah, we knew that… we needed a heavy hitter director character in Season 3… Clayface auditions for a Thomas Wayne biopic that James Gunn is directing called, ‘A Hard Wayne’s Gonna Fall,’ starring Billy Bob Thornton, who also voices himself in the title role… I don’t know James, I’ve never met him in person, but he and I actually grew up in the same town and had a similar upbringing, going to an all-boys Catholic school in St. Louis…

So how did they manage to get Gunn in the first place? Well, according to the writer, "[he] DM's him out of the blue," which led to them "[recording the role] a month later:"

"But I am a fan. I knew he was a fan of the show and had posted a bit about it on Twitter… We followed each other and we had never really spoken but I DM’d him out of the blue and I was like, ‘Hey, shot in the dark but…’ And within 15 minutes, he had responded that he’s definitely interested… [and] a month later we were recording it. And it was very cool and he was such a good sport about just making fun of past work, making fun of just everything in the zeitgeist in the DCEU and whatnot."

Schumaker and Halpern then revealed that at one point they "had some Marvel jokes" but "couldn't" actually include them in the final cut since those references "kind of [broke] the world of the show:"

We even had some Marvel jokes in there, which we ended up not being able to include in the show... I think we ended up just like saying, ‘Eh, it kind of breaks the world of the show.’ But we had a joke… [with] Thanos and then Clayface was like, ‘Who’s Thanos?’ But it just felt like it was maybe breaking the world of the show. But who knows, maybe we’ll get some bonus content out there at some point.”

Quinn Kept Marvel From Breaking the DC World

One way Harley Quinn could have naturally referred to the Marvel Universe is to mention how they’re comics in the DC world—or how MCU movies do actually exist in their reality.

That method would be a fun, organic way to make all the jokes the writers desire without breaking the world of the show. After all, Marvel Studios has referenced DC comics in its MCU entries. One of the most recent examples is a kid claiming that Richard Madden’s Ikaris in Eternals is Superman.

Did the writers possibly avoid referencing Marvel because of unspoken pressure from higher-ups? Or was it truly a creative decision? Fans may never know. But at the very least, while there might not be any MCU jokes, there are plenty of insane DC Comics antics to keep one busy.

Harley Quinn releases on Thursday, July 28.

- In This Article: Harley Quinn (Season 4)
Release Date
July 27, 2023
Alan Tudyk
Kaley Cuoco
- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.