In 1992, when Paul Dini and Bruce Timm crafted the animated equivalent of a walk-on role for a girl in a clown suit in an early Joker-centric episode of Batman: The Animated Series, they couldn't have had any idea that Harley Quinn would go on be incorporated into the comic book side of the Batman universe. They certainly couldn't have predicted that in 2015 she'd be headlining one of the company's best selling books and be set to star in a live action Suicide Squad movie.
We sat down with Timm this afternoon at the Machinima Newfronts to talk about his upcoming web series (with an animated film, prequel comic, and action figures to come) Justice League: Gods and Monsters. But we couldn't quite resist asking the veteran filmmaker what it's like to see characters he'd had a hand in creating go from cartoons, to comics, to big screen action movie.
Woah. She looks actually pretty cute!
"It's interesting," Timm answered immediately. "It's weird. Myself — being somebody who's taken characters that pre-exist and putting my own spin on them in my own little universe — I'm very aware of how when a character that I necessarily created shows up in other media that they have to adapt it and do different things with it than I would do. So I'm very open to it to see what they're going to do. I'm actually really excited. I just today, just before the show started, saw the first image of Harley Quinn from the Suicide Squad movie, and I thought 'Woah. She looks actually pretty cute!' I was actually kind of worried I thought ‘Oh, she's going to look really, really bizarre and skanky' but nah, she's not too bad. So I'm often mistaken.
Harley Quinn isn't the only original character created for Batman: The Animated Series to make it to live action lately. Detective Renee Montoya was also original to the show (though preemtively introduced in comics before appearing there), and has been brought onto the cast of Fox's Gotham.
Justice League: Gods and Monsters is a Machinima-produced animated web series — launching in June and already green lit for a second season — about the adventures of a very different Justice League. A Justice League inspired, according to Timm, by the hard reboots of Green Lantern and the Flash from the 1950s. Characters may have the same name, and the same set of powers, but their origin stories and personalities are literally a whole 'nother story. We'll have more from Timm about the series, especially its new Superman, tomorrow.