It’s a big day for DC Comics. One week after the second half of the media company’s virtual DC FanDome event, it was announced Friday that the multi-media streaming platform DC Universe will be transitioning into a service called DC Infinite, focused entirely on digital comics (read more about it here). DC Universe’s original TV shows, such as the animated Harley Quinn series, will be solely available on HBO Max going forward. But that’s more where that came from, literally: Harley Quinn has also been renewed for a much-deserved season 3!
Don’t worry if you’re surprised by that good news; co-showrunners Patrick Schumacker and Justin Halpern tell EW that they just found out themselves earlier this week. They and their team originally wrote the scripts for seasons 1 and 2 way back in 2019, so they’ve since had plenty of time to think about where they next want to take the story of Harley Quinn (Kaley Cuoco) and her squad.
“Season 2 ended a while ago. We knew the show show was doing pretty well on DC Universe. We knew the show was gonna end up on HBO Max eventually, and we knew that that there were talks happening about a season three, but all of that was happening like almost right when quarantine started,” Schumacker tells EW. “So we had a really long time to think about what we might do, or at least the gist of the story that we might want to tell for season 3. We’re just super excited to finally actually be able to put that into action and actually get the ideas ping-ponging off both the returning writers and the inevitable new writers that we’re getting to hire now. I am very excited to finally get those ideas out and about in the ether.”
The show began with Harley finally breaking off her tortured relationship with the Joker (Alan Tudyk). The rest of season 1 followed her attempts to make a name for herself as a supervillain in her own right, which mostly involved assembling a “crew” of fellow goofballs and eccentric antiheroes: Clayface (also Tudyk), Dr. Psycho (Tony Hale), King Shark (Ron Funches), and most importantly, Poison Ivy (Lake Bell).
Harley and Ivy were best friends from the start (as they’ve been depicted since they first teamed up on the iconic Batman: The Animated Series episode “Harley & Ivy”), but season 1 laid some hints that they might like to be more than friends. Over the course of season 2, Harley finally realized her own romantic feelings, but Ivy was engaged to the lovable dork Kite Man (Matt Oberg). It wasn’t until the season 2 finale that they finally admitted how they felt and entered a romantic relationship with each other.
For a while there, it looked like Harley Quinn might follow the same path as previous animated shows like The Legend of Korra and She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, where a lesbian relationship is teased for seasons but only made official in the show’s final act. With a third season, Harley Quinn will actually be able to explore their relationship on a regular basis.
“That’s the big thing for us to chew on,” Halpern says. “The thing we have discussed preliminarily is the idea that these two characters have had a lot of toxic relationships in their past. Although Ivy and Kite Man wasn’t toxic, it also wasn’t an equal relationship, you know? He loved her a lot more than she loved him. So this is the first time they’re both going to be in a relationship where they really and truly have affection towards one another. They have a lot of responsibility. So I think like, ‘what is it like to be in a good relationship after you’ve only ever been in bad relationships with abusive people?’ is a big theme we want to play with.”
We’ll have to wait until season 3 gets closer to development before we can tease out additional plot details from Halpern and Schumacker, but EW was able to confirm two things. One, Kite Man will be back — though no longer as a romantic threat to Harley and Ivy. That love triangle is settled. Two, Bane (James Adomian) will never die.
“All credit to Tom King for resurrecting Kite Man in the comics, because without that, we probably probably would not have made him such an integral part of the show,” Schumacker says. “There plenty of other DC D-listers in the pool, so we’re looking forward to that for sure. But we’ve been talking about Kite Man and kind of where he stands with the end of season 2 and the breakup. We don’t want to completely cut ties. I’ll probably piss a few people off by saying we hope Kite Man will return, because I know he’s got his detractors, but we can say with 100 percent certainty that Kite Man will in no way be like a spoiler for Harley and Ivy’s relationship. They’re rock solid, they’re a couple. But that doesn’t mean that Kite Man won’t exist in the show.”
Those of us who love Adomian’s Bane (what started as an impression of Tom Hardy’s Dark Knight Rises depiction has evolved into something fascinatingly three-dimensional and endlessly hilarious) may have briefly feared for his life when Harley ripped out his venom veins and sent him hurling backwards into his own prison pit at the end of season 2 highlight “There’s No Place to Go But Down,” but rest assured he is alive and well enough to remain a comedy wellspring for future seasons.
“We’ll kill almost any character that’s not Harley or Ivy, but we’ll never kill Bane,” Halpern promises.
The first two seasons of Harley Quinn are currently streaming on HBO Max and DC Universe. If you haven’t watched yet, make sure to check out our previous interview with Halpern and Schumacker about good entry point episodes. DC Universe Infinite will launch in January 2021; read more about it here.