Harley Quinn and Deadshot’s romance in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad would have been better than the Joker’s for the DC Extended Universe. Harley and the Joker have famously been involved in a deeply toxic relationship for a long time and that spilled over into 2016’s Suicide Squad. However, a recently released image from the Ayer cut of the film reveals that a relationship was meant to blossom between Harley and Deadshot.
Last year, Ayer confirmed that Harley and Deadshot did indeed have a romance in the film, but it was changed during reshoots of the film. In the photo still from the scene, Harley and Deadshot are shown kissing, with Harley’s arms thrown around Deadshot’s neck in a rather passionate embrace. However, what fans ultimately saw in the theatrical release of Suicide Squad was Harley and Joker’s romance, with the Clown Prince of Crime breaking her out of Belle Reve at the end of the movie, which all but confirmed their relationship would carry on uninterrupted. Despite spending the majority of the film trying to save Harley from being a part of Task Force X, however, their relationship was obviously abusive, even while the final cut of the film toned down much of the toxicity.
With the knowledge of Deadshot and Harley’s romance, the choice to go that route would have greatly benefitted Suicide Squad and Harley, in particular. Both Deadshot and Harley are villains, yes, but their relationship would have more than likely been less abusive. It would have also provided a clearer narrative path for Harley. By being with Deadshot, she may have realized she deserved better, leading her to leave the Joker behind once and for all far sooner. What’s more, a Deadshot and Harley romance would have been something completely unexpected (but not unwanted). Will Smith and Margot Robbie have a lot of chemistry together — something that is also evidenced in their 2015 film Focus — and a flirtatious romance between them would have made sense considering how often they interacted in the film.
Focusing on a romance, no matter how brief, would have also given the film a major boost since they were the central, and most well-known, characters who were driving the narrative. Harley and the Joker’s relationship was not handled well in Suicide Squad, which played up their toxicity through a rose-colored romantic lens that was everything but healthy. Throwing Deadshot into the mix would have easily shown the contrasts between the two relationships. Plus, a relationship with Deadshot would have also given Harley more agency; she is the one who initiated the kiss with her Task Force X teammate, approaching him with a smile before going all-in.
Harley’s storylines have always involved the Joker in some form or another, but Suicide Squad could have started the thread that she didn’t need to rely on him before Birds of Prey carried on with that idea and formally broke them up offscreen. At the very least, this romantic subplot could have further developed both Harley and Deadshot in a unique manner while also being far less problematic than Harley and Joker. If nothing else, the potential of a Deadshot and Harley Quinn romance might be a good reason to release the Ayer Cut of Suicide Squad.