Podcasts based on popular franchises are all the rage these days. Especially in the world of superheroes where DC Comics just announced their next podcast centered around Harley Quinn titled Harley Quinn and The Joker: Sound Mind which is coming to Spotify. Reported by Variety, the series will retell the popular villain’s origin story from her perspective and Harley will be voiced by Addams Family star Christina Ricci. The series will also star Billy Magnussen as The Joker and Justin Hartley as Bruce Wayne. The podcast is being written and directed by Eli Horowitz. Matthew Derby and Rachel Khong will also be writers on the series.
According to the producers of the series this rendition “will finally let Harley control her own narrative, instead of portraying her through the lens of the story The Joker has told”. The story starts off as you would expect with Harley starting out as an Arkham Asylum psychologist named Dr. Harleen Quinzel, but that’s where the comparison to past tellings of her origin story end. This series is adding a compelling new element to the story in Harley’s father who is sick and needs a life-saving operation. Harley can’t afford the operation and she uses her connection with “Patient J” aka The Joker to get what she needs which leads the two down a “dangerous path that will change their lives forever”.
Harley Quinn is now a character that’s somehow 30 years old and when she was created for Batman: The Animated Series she became an instant fan-favorite. However, Harley since then has evolved past her Joker’s henchman and love interest roles. This new podcast is playing into her recent evolution and adds an exciting new parallel. For anyone who knows Harley’s original origin that was brilliantly told both in the comic and BTAS episode titled “Mad Love”, Joker making up traumatic stories about his father is what made Harleen drop her guard and started her downward spiral into Harley Quinn. Adding Harley’s father is a nice new wrinkle in that original plot point. Instead of Joker manipulating Harley, it’s the other way around here. At least at first. Harley has always been a well-rounded character but that one added detail puts a bit more tragedy into her overall story. It will be interesting to see what direction the creators take that plot line in the series.
On top of adding an interesting new angle to the story, the cast here is just incredible. Ricci is best known for her role as Wednesday Addams in the 90s Addams Family films, but she has since had a nice career starring in films like Casper, Sleepy Hollow, Speed Racer, Cursed, and shows like Yellowjackets and the upcoming Wednesday Netflix series. Ricci has such a great range and she is the perfect choice to take on this now iconic villainous mantle. Magnussen as The Joker is such an interesting choice as well. Like Ricci he has a wonderful range and is currently coming off his villainous role in the latest James Bond film No Time To Die. The actor has shown his comedic chops in the past, but his role in No Time To Die also displayed his effortless ability to be able to switch gears on a dime and go crazy. That’s perfect for a character like Joker.
Finally, this series will see Hartley return to the DC Universe. While most people know the actor from the hit series This is Us, comic book fans know Hartley as Green Arrow from the legendary CW series Smallville. His time as Bruce Wayne will mark his second return to the universe as he played Superman in the animated film adaptation of Injustice. Hartley is a wonderful choice for the Dark Knight and it will be exciting to see how he plays into this version of the story.
There’s no release date for this new Harley-centric podcast, but this is now the third time DC has dabbled with this format in recent years. Their podcast Batman Unburied recently got renewed for Season 2 at Spotify and there’s also a BTAS audio drama revival in the works with most of the original voice cast returning. Harley Quinn has been one of DC’s most popular characters appearing in countless hit movies, games, and her own amazing TV series on HBO Max. That animated series is about to start its third season later this month.
While we anxiously wait for Harley Quinn and The Joker: Sound Mind, you can catch up on the first two seasons of the Harley Quinn animated series before it returns to HBO Max on July 28. Batman: The Animated Series is also streaming on HBO Max as well.