Harley Quinn almost didn’t become a canonized character in the DC Universe due to objections from a high-ranking DC Comics official. The idea of Joker having a girlfriend didn’t align with this official’s interpretation of the character, which is why he would have denied Harley’s inclusion. If Harley Quinn had been rejected, she might not have gone on her transformation from a villainous sidekick to a more heroic character, and her impact on the DC Universe would have been greatly diminished.

Despite Harley Quinn being a fan favorite among readers, one high-ranking DC Comics official didn’t want her in the DCU at all. A stunning admission reveals how close Harley was to never becoming a fully canonized character.

Fans may recall that Harley Quinn wasn’t always a part of the DC Universe. Harley Quinn was created by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini and first debuted in the Batman: The Animated Series episode “Joker’s Favor”. Harley appeared in numerous episodes of the show, as well as tie-in material such as comic books. But it wasn’t until the one-shot story Batman: Harley Quinn properly introduced her into DC canon in 1999. Since she became a character in the DCU, Harley has held down several ongoing titles and miniseries. In the last several years, Harley’s been on a journey that’s seen her leave her villainous ways behind and embrace a more heroic way of life.

DC Legend Denny O’Neil Would Have Prevented Harley Quinn From Becoming Canon

Despite the prominence Harley Quinn has in the modern-day DC Universe, there’s a chance she would have been barred from becoming canon altogether. CBR’s “Comic Book Legends Revealed” discussed an interview given by DC Comics writer and editor Denny O’Neil in TwoMorrows’ Back Issues #99. O’Neil explains that Harley Quinn had been added in a book that he “was not consulted on” and that he “would not have approved” her inclusion. According to O’Neil, his issue with Harley was that the idea of Joker having a girlfriend didn’t make sense with his interpretation of the Clown Prince of Crime. O’Neil even says that “…having a girlfriend, having a sex life, would be way too normal for him.“. That said, O’Neil also admits he’d have been wrong to deny Harley entry into the DCU.

Harley Quinn has come a long way since her days as the Joker’s sidekick. But back then, Harley’s raison d’etre was being the utterly moonstruck love interest to Batman’s greatest enemy. O’Neil had a very specific version of the Joker in mind, one that wouldn’t entertain the idea of a partner for any reason. While some fans may agree with his assessment, it’s hard to believe that readers were nearly denied a fan-favorite character from joining the DC Universe. It’s hard to imagine what the last few years would have looked like for Harley Quinn had she been rejected back then.

Harley Quinn’s DC History Almost Changed Forever

Of course, even in a world where O’Neil did reject Harley Quinn from joining the DC Universe, there’s nothing that says she wouldn’t have joined eventually. O’Neil served as an editor for DC Comics until the early 2000s when Harley was still riding a wave of popularity from the DC Animated Universe. But even if she eventually joined the DC Universe at a later point, there’s no guarantee that Harley would have experienced the same character arc she’s been on. She could have stayed as the Joker’s sidekick, been killed off, or forgotten about. Knowing Harley came close to not making it into the DC Universe is an interesting, if disconcerting factoid from her history. But thankfully for her and the fans that love her, Harley Quinn came into the DCU at just the right time.

Source: CBR

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