Despite Promises, It Turns Out Harley Quinn Was Never Going to—and Will Never—Be on Gotham

Image: Still via Youtube
Image: Still via Youtube

Over the course of Gotham’s third season, producers and cast-members alike hyped up that this would be the year that Harley Quinn would make her way to the show’s loopy reimagining of a pre-Batman Gotham City. Then they promised she would specifically be in the season three finale. And then... she didn’t show up. And apparently, she never will.


According to producer John Stephens, speaking at Comic-Con over the weekend, what the Gotham cast and crew had meant to say for months was that Barbara Kean would be taking on some Harley-esque mannerisms over the season, not that Harley herself would be showing up. On top of that, Harley will apparently never appear on the show at all:

It was my fault. I had thought I had said and I might have not said it: We’ll see a Harley Quinn-esque character. Because in our mind Barbara was taking on a lot of the ethos and spirit of Harley Quinn, you know, her love of anarchy and violence. All those things that make Harley, Harley in many ways, we were trying to put into Barbara. So I thought that she was becoming a Harley Quinn-esque character. But we’re never going to see Harley Quinn. Sorry about that.


This is so bizarre, even aside from the fact that it involved the Gotham team consistently saying the wrong thing over the course of several months. But also because, given that Gotham is perhaps best known (second to its utter lunacy) for ceaselessly adapting every Batman character and villain it can, taking one of the most famous and iconic of them all off the table for good seems nuts. Especially after making a proto-Joker a major villain.

But considering Gotham also somehow managed to hype up a character that was never coming to the show for a whole season, maybe it’s best not to take any statements about the show’s future quite so definitively.


James is a News Editor at io9. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!

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I’m not sure names mean anything on this show anyway. James Gordon in Gotham isn’t really the James Gordon that is known from the comics- he’s just a character who happens to be called that but is otherwise unfamiliar to his canon namesake.

So whether Barbara Keane is named Harley or not is besides the point.

This isn’t meant to be critical btw. I’ve come to appreciate this madness and I figure since they’ve decided not to be accountable to any sense of logic or devotion to the source material that they should just go for it and channel that mad muse that is inspiring this insane show.

Once I let go of any expectation that this show was supposed to be about my own rigid preconceptions I came to enjoy the ride.