Why James Gunn shouldn’t direct a Gotham City Sirens film (and who should direct it instead)

Director James Gunn recently revealed that he’s working on another DC project besides his upcoming Peacemaker show, and now the internet is rife with speculation around what it could possibly be. There are a number of characters from The Suicide Squad that could potentially be spun off into their own movies or shows, or even numerous unknown DC characters that could benefit from Gunn’s violent, humorous approach.

Though, out of all the possibilities, many have begun to speculate that he might adapt DC’s favorite villain trio, the Gotham City Sirens, and bring Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn back to the big screen once again. 

Despite Gunn’s ability to create well-made and fun superhero films – a point proven by the gory romp that was The Suicide Squad – Gotham City Sirens should be a movie starring, written, and directed by women.

The Gotham City Sirens all represent different aspects of the uniquely feminine experience, and having a man as the sole writer and director would just feel wrong, especially with the progress women have been making in the superhero movie space.

The Sirens, a popular comic anti-hero group, always includes Harley Quinn, along with her girlfriend Poison Ivy and their ally Catwoman. For years, Robbie has been unspoken about her desire to bring Ivy into the DCEU, and with the casting of the Arrowverse’s take on the character, fans are chomping at the bit to see her on the big screen. Furthermore, the previous successes of Michelle Pfeiffer and Anne Hathaway’s Catwomen, as well as the hype surrounding Zoe Kravitz’s version, certainly make her character an easy choice to be a co-lead of this film as well.

Though Gunn featured a very successful take on Harley Quinn in his Squad film, I would argue that all the heavy lifting to make Harley as successful as she has been should be attributed to a combination of Robbie’s performance and the perfect choice to direct a Sirens film, Cathy Yan.

Birds of Prey is my favorite comic book film of all time, and I think she perfectly captured the essence of both Harley Quinn and the amazing women around her.

She was the one who introduced the DCEU to neon colors, imaginative fight scenes, the R rating, and unconventional storytelling; all things Gunn has been praised for using in his DCEU film debut. To leave her out of the conversation would be irresponsible, and, frankly, ridiculous.

The Harley Quinn that we saw in The Suicide Squad was a direct result of the combined forces of Yan, Robbie, and writer Christina Hodson, who gave Gunn the perfect character to fold into his story. Her take on this film, which would no doubt apply the same colorfully violent and hilarious antics of Birds of Prey, would allow the audience to be folded back into that version of the DCEU so easily, especially with how true Gunn stayed to her vision of Harley.

Both Yan and Hodson know how to balance anti-heroes with true villains, and that would be the best case for success in telling this story. As they did with Roman Sionis in Birds of Prey, it’s clear they know how to offer up truly evil villains to contrast the inherent villainous nature of characters like Harley Quinn to allow the audience to root for Harley, even when she’s doing unheroic deeds.

With the announcement of the Black Canary solo film starring Jurnee Smollett in the works at HBOMax, it’s clear that DC isn’t finished with the world that Cathy Yan created. When the time comes, the Gotham City Sirens movie should go to her, if she wants it.

Though, as long as the Sirens get their story told by women who truly understand these characters, I’ll be a happy DCEU fan. As mentioned earlier, Gunn is talented, smart, and a great filmmaker, and he’s clearly capable of doing incredible work, but just not for these characters.

Women are only just starting to finally break into the superhero genre behind the scenes, and are finally now being allowed the agency to tell our own stories.

Women like Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman), Cate Shortland (Black Widow), and Chloe Zhao (Eternals) are a few names on a very short list of women-directed superhero movies, one that I believe is growing all too slowly.

With upcoming films like Nia DaCosta’s The Marvels, a sequel to 2019’s Captain Marvel (which had a woman as one of two co-directors), Olivia Wilde’s Spider-Woman project, and Patty Jenkins’ third Wonder Woman, it’s clear more women are needed behind the camera of these massive superhero blockbusters. Especially after DC canceled Ava DuVernay’s New Gods film, it would be irresponsible for DC to hand the reins of their first-ever all-female super-villain team to a man.

Whatever Gunn might be working on, it’s clear that anything he makes will surely please DC fans given the massive success he saw with The Suicide Squad. He’s a very talented filmmaker and DC is lucky to have him, but the Sirens should not be his next project.

Do you have any ideas about Gunn’s top-secret DC project? What would you like it to be?