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SYFY WIRE The Suicide Squad

Harley Quinn’s new Suicide Squad look was inspired by a Bat-tastic video game, says James Gunn

By Benjamin Bullard

DC and Warner Bros. just dropped a new trailer for James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, and between all those Rick Flag wisecracks and King Shark “bruh” moments, fans might've caught a few brief glimpses of Harley Quinn sporting a new fire-red getup that Gunn says came straight from a fan-favorite DC video game franchise.

Swapping the tattered “Daddy’s Lil’ Monster” tee from David Ayer’s 2016 feature for a pair of more put-together looks (something we never thought we’d say about Harley Quinn), Harley (Margot Robbie) turns up in a leather, black-on-red antihero costume that’ll look familiar to anyone who’s spent time romping around Gotham in Warner Bros.’ Arkham series of Batman games. Coupled with the death-pageant red dress she dons in some other quick trailer glimpses, it’s a different approach to Ayer’s more punked-out Harley aesthetic — but Gunn says it’s all part of the plan.

Speaking with IGN, Gunn said he indeed took inspiration straight from the Arkham series to concoct Harley’s red-on-black action suit. “The truth is I had a huge map of different books of Harley Quinn throughout the years in various media, and one of them I liked the best was the Arkham games look of Harley Quinn,” he said. “Her first look in the movie is based on that.”

Check out Harley's look about 50 seconds into the new trailer below:

And then compare that to her look in Batman: Arkham City's "Harley Quinn's Revenge Payback Trailer":

Though it’s nearly impossible to catch in The Suicide Squad's new action-packed trailer, Harley’s leather jacket also comes with an aptly fatalistic message on the back: “Live fast, die clown.” Gunn said he struck on the phrase as the winning candidate among a handful of other options — and all of them sound pretty funny.

“I knew I wanted to have something written on the back of her jacket, motorcycle gang style, and so that's where I came up with ‘Live fast, die clown,’” he said, “although there were some other options. We also made a jacket that says ‘Clown AF’ and we had another jacket that says ‘World's Best Grandpa.’ And it was between those three different jackets.”

The new clip puts most of its focus on drafting Bloodsport (Idris Elba) into the Squad in the reluctant-hero role. But Gunn revealed there’s another character — the mysterious new female version of Ratcatcher (aka Ratcatcher 2, played by Daniela Melchior) who’s meant to serve as the “heart of the film.”

“She is an innocent, compared to the rest of them,” Gunn explained, adding that the least psychopathic (or just instinctively violent) member of the team ends up revealing a soft spot in Bloodsport’s tough-as-nails view of the world. “I think what she brings out is this relationship between her and Bloodsport, which is very much a father-daughter relationship,” Gunn said, “… through the movie we learn both of them have a very specific and special journey that works intimately off of each other.”

One whirl through the potty humor-filled trailer is all it takes, though, to banish any notion of these misfits smashing their way onto the screen for a sappy family conflict drama in disguise. Grab your leather and prepare to get "Clown AF" when The Suicide Squad rolls out in theaters and on HBO Max on Aug. 6.