In the eyes of DC Comics, Batman’s a fighter … not a lover. In a recent interview with Variety, the co-creators and executive producers of the fan favorite Harley Quinn cartoon series let slip a scene that the Dark Knight’s publishers had axed from the upcoming third season of the R-rated HBO Max show. “We had a moment where Batman was going down on Catwoman,” revealed Justin Halpern, who oversees Harley Quinn with Patrick Schumacker. “And DC was like, ‘You can’t do that. You absolutely cannot do that.'”
It’s worth noting that Harley Quinn has never been shy about exposing its main characters to suggestive situations. The first two seasons are filled with ultraviolence, not to mention ultra-risqué sexual material. But as Halpern notes, it helps that the main characters are all villains. “You have so much more leeway,” he notes of his core cast of Gotham City’s most dedicated criminals, led by Harley Quinn (Kaley Cuoco) and her girlfriend, Poison Ivy (Lake Bell).
Batman, on the other hand, is still Gotham’s champion — even though he’s got plenty of his own dark issues to work out. According to Halpern, DC’s reaction to their proposed scene went as follows. “They’re like, ‘Heroes don’t do that.’ So, we said, ‘Are you saying heroes are just selfish lovers?’ They were like, ‘No, it’s that we sell consumer toys for heroes. It’s hard to sell a toy if Batman is also going down on someone.'”
Comic book writers like Jimmy Palmiotti and Gail Simone backed up Halpern’s account of DC sexual skittishness on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Bat-fans urged DC to allow the Caped Crusader to act on his urges every once in a while — especially since he’s done so in the comics.
Even if there are some lines they can’t cross with the Bat, Halpern and Schumacker have frequently expressed delight about how far they’ve been able to push the envelope on Harley Quinn in general. “It seemed maybe a little bit off-brand, this idea that we’re making fun of some of this world,” Schumacker told Deadline last September. “I think since the show has come out, fans have appreciated that yeah, we’re making a lot of jokes at the expense of these characters, but it is done with love, and with a pretty deep knowledge of their legacies. And while these are sort of bastardized versions of all the characters, for the most part, they still have their core moral compass.”
Harley Quinn is currently streaming on HBO Max
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