The fan favorite DC character Harley Quinn made her grand debut in Batman: The Animated Series. She was an original character created specifically for the show, and she went on to become one of the most popular DC characters of all time. She originally appeared in Episode 22, “Joker’s Favor”.

For those of you curious about the story behind the creation of the series creator Bruce Timm and writers Paul Dini Vulture shared all the details you need to know about Harley Quinn’s conception.

The inspiration came from Dini’s college friend, Arleen Sorkinwho was then best known for playing Calliope Jones days of our lives. In an episode of that show, she wore a jester costume. Dini explained that one day when he was sick, he put in a VHS tape that Arleen had given him of her best days of our lives clips.

He explained, “I had already decided in the script to give the Joker a henchman and thought Arleen’s screwball persona would be a good contrast to the Joker’s dangerous insanity. The story is quite dark, with Joker picking out an ordinary man and taking pleasure in torturing him, so it took me a few laughs to break the tension. I also liked the idea of ​​putting Harley in a colorful costume reminiscent of the Molls from the 1960’s live-action Batman series. Seeing Arleen in the jester costume at the time helped fix that image in my brain.”

Bruce Timm shared that Dini wanted to name her Harley Quinn: “Obviously a ruined version of Harlequin, and he did a rough design for her that, frankly, wasn’t very good. It was just weird. It had kind of a ’60s vibe to it. It was just weird. Charming but strange. I thought we could improve on that, so I immediately started researching traditional Harlequin gear and designed a simplified supervillain version of it.”

Timm’s design is the one that was ultimately used in the series. Arleen Sorkin eventually provided the voice of the character, and speaking about how she came up with the voice, she said, “I could give you an awesome answer on how I did the voice, but I don’t have one. I read it and just thought that’s the best voice for her right now. I don’t want to pretend to be that wide range woman so I chose the ones I could easily do and it worked. Paul decided to make them Jewish, so I added a little Yiddish tone. At least we know the Joker isn’t anti-Semitic. That is his only good quality.”

Timm went on to explain that Harley Quinn was originally intended to be just a one-off character, they never intended to bring her back! But that all changed when they saw the first footage of her. He said, “When we got the first episode that she was in, coming back from overseas, and we saw her animated, and the combination of the visuals with Arleen Sorkin’s performance, was kind of magical.”

After that, Dini started planning her return, telling Timm, “So Paul started planning her return right away, and he’d be like, ‘I want to bring that Harley Quinn character back in another episode.’ I’d say, ‘I don’t know if that’s such a good idea. But she was really cool and, yes, she was cute. Okay good.’ So Paul kept bringing her back. I didn’t make a fuss, and then one thing led to another, and she was this really popular character.”

The rest is history! It’s amazing how much popularity this character has gained over the years. When the character was first conceived, the creators had no idea the impact she would have on DC fandom or that she would get the live-action treatment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *