Several new reports seem to indicate that Birds of Prey is set to begin filming in January 2019, setting it up for release sometime in 2020.
DiscussingFilm reported that Warner Bros. was aiming for that schedule, while according to Flickering Myth, star Margot Robbie (who plays Harley Quinn) has confirmed it. Omega Underground got in on the rumor mill, too, claiming that the studio is looking for filming locations in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Savannah.
The film will be directed by Cathy Yan, based on a script written by Christina Hodson.
Based on the comic book of the same name, Birds of Prey will focus on an all-female team of superheroes tangentially related to the Batman mythos. Standard members are believed to include Barbara Gordon/Batgirl, Dinah Lance/Black Canary and Helena Bertinelli/Huntress.
None of those parts have been cast yet, and most reports so far have focused on Robbie’s inclusion. Harley Quinn’s actual role is unclear, however; will the anti-hero/anti-villain be a member of the team in this version, or an enemy? Her moral alignment is hard to pin down at the best of times, and even more so when the Clown Princess of Crime is set to appear in so many films, the order of which is yet to be determined. (According to some reports, the villain may be the Penguin.)
Robbie has reportedly also said that the film will have a smaller budget and be rated R. This makes it sound like it will be a grittier, more street-level film, which makes some sense, as (except for Black Canary and her sonic scream) none of the main players have actual superpowers. It also seems to imply that the DC Extended Universe is trying to diversify its stock, similarly to Fox’s X-Men films, since many of the other projects in works are more lighthearted.
Said projects include this December’s Aquaman and next year’s Shazam and Wonder Woman 1984; according to these rumors, Birds of Prey would be next. Aside from a return to the grittier aesthetic of past DCEU fare, it is interesting that this will give the DCEU three female-led movies, two of which are sequential; given that the first Wonder Woman is its only unqualified success, Warner Bros. seems to be hoping to fill that niche.