Batman Rogues Nolan Missed: Harley Quinn

by Ryan Rigley

As grim as it may sound, the untimely death of Heath Ledger added an undeniable air of mystery to the release of “The Dark Knight,” ensuring its status as a record-breaking release. Unfortunately, it also meant that Ledger, who absolutely nailed his portrayal of The Joker, would never be able to reprise his role. It’s truly depressing to think about, but if things had played out differently we’re almost positive that The Joker would have made an appearance in “The Dark Knight Rises.”

With that said, there was probably even a chance that Harley Quinn could have made her big screen debut in the grand finale to Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy. Created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm for “Batman: The Animated Series,” Harley Quinn broke new ground by originating on television before becoming part of the comic book world.

Read on for more about how Harley Quinn could have worked in the Nolanverse!

Originally a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum, Dr. Harleen Quinzel falls desperately in love with The Joker after several attempts at uncovering the method behind his madness. Of course, this has everything to do with the fact that The Joker is manipulating her into helping him escape. Unaware of his true motives, Harleen secretly releases her patient back into Gotham City.

Soon, The Joker is returned to Arkham after an intense battle with Batman. Seeing the object of her affections battered, bruised and defeated, Harleen is driven insane with guilt and quits her job. The next day, she returns to the Asylum (dressed in a red jester costume) and frees The Joker once more; this time, as his sidekick “Harley Quinn.” Throughout the years, Harley Quinn and The Joker have shared an on-again/off-again relationship filled with varying degrees of domestic violence.

In “The Dark Knight,” we see The Joker as a veritable monster, killing people left and right for no real purpose. If Harley Quinn was brought into the picture, we would see a whole new side of him: as a human being. Can you imagine watching Heath Ledger’s Joker actually caring for someone (or pretending to anyway) and that certain someone actually caring for him back? It’s hard to imagine, but nothing beyond what Ledger and Nolan were able to pull off in “The Dark Knight.” Perhaps, Nolan’s Harley Quinn would even have some facial scars of her own; the difference being we’d know how she actually got them.

Since The Joker is said to be locked away as Arkham Asylum’s sole prisoner after the events of “The Dark Knight,” what better place to pick up than directly after his incarceration? This would have allowed us to see Harleen Quinzel’s entire transformation from psychiatrist to psychopath and it would also give us a more in depth look at The Joker’s troubled psyche. There’s even a chance that we could’ve finally learned The Joker’s true origin, as he could use the story to get on Harleen’s good side!

Would It Work?
It very well could have. But the sad fact is that without Heath Ledger there is no Joker, and without a Joker there is no Harley Quinn. Nolan could have done a terrific job of translating the character to the silver screen. Plus, Harley Quinn is actually a popular enough character to have warranted her appearance in the movie. There’s no telling how audiences would have reacted to the introduction of a love-crossed psychiatrist turned supervillain, but odds are that another Nolan film prominently featuring The Joker would have made a killing at the box office.

Would you have enjoyed seeing Harley Quinn in Nolan’s trilogy? Let us know in the comments section below or hit us up on Twitter with your thoughts!