Luckily, fans can worry about those conflicts later, as the first episode focuses at least partly on the pair enjoying the honeymoon period that comes in the early days of the relationship. And that, Halpern tells us, was entirely the point. “The writing staff–and Sarah Peters, who wrote that episode–they were very much like, ‘Let’s give the fans this honeymoon period as well.’ When we start the episode off we give them a lot of Harley and Ivy together, happy and having fun, before we toss in something that’s going to cause conflict in the relationship.”
Digging into what this relationship really means for both of the women at its center was vital to the creators of the show, especially when it comes to Harley and her tangled romantic past. “Harley doesn’t really know a way to be in a relationship where she’s not completely devoted and doing everything for her partner. It’s a bad habit that she’s taken from this shitty relationship,” Halpern says. “She’s an appendage,” Schumacker adds. “Yeah, and she’s trying to transplant it,” according to Halpern.
That’s particularly highlighted in the episode’s closing moments where we see Harley promise Ivy that she wants to make her happy no matter what. Together they’re going to take over the world and reshape it in Ivy’s vision. But it’s not the happy ending it seems to be. “We wanted to give this sort of false feeling at the end of the first episode. It ends with Harley saying ‘I want you, I’m committed to you, I want to do everything you’re going to be doing,'” Halpern says. “It feels like a happy moment. But what we wanted it to be was this showing a false idea of what a relationship should be. So what we’re building through the season is a theme about these two characters who want different things and yet can exist within this relationship.”
Harley Quinn season three also introduces a new character to the fray: James Gunn, with none other than the director playing himself. It expands the meta world of the series and introduces a central storyline for this season which the creators teased. “It was a blast for us,” Schumacker says. “We knew that we wanted to have the season culminate–without spoiling it too much–there’s a movie, a Thomas Wayne biopic, that’s sort of a Scorsese Aviator kind of look at his life and ultimate demise that everyone’s familiar with.”
The man to bring that sincere vision to life was James Gunn, of course!
“We thought it would be fun to have somebody like James, who’s like, Guardians of the Galaxy! The Suicide Squad! He does popcorn insanity. That I would say is totally akin to the stuff that we’re trying to do. And wouldn’t it be fun if his character was like, ‘You know what, I’m going to win an award now. And I’m going to direct this movie, starring Billy Bob Thornton as Thomas Wayne’ and Billy Bob Thornton voices himself playing Thomas Wayne, which was a blast as well.”