The third season of Gotham made a lot of huge changes to the show’s characters, including giving what looked like a deadly blow of electricity to the now-fully villainous Barbara Kean (Erin Richards). If she’s not dead, that literal shock could mean Barbara might become Harley Quinn in Gotham season 4. She’s already evolved much further than being just Jim Gordon’s wife, as she is in some of the comics. And while all signs seemed to point to Barbara transforming into the now-iconic DC character in the beginning of season 4, the show may be throwing her character for a loop yet again.
In an interview with Showbiz Junkies during San Diego Comic-Con between seasons 3 and 4, Richards had some surprising intel about Barbara’s would-be transformation on the show. “She was changing at the end of the last season, and we had some ideas of who she could change into,” Richards said. “And then we decided that it would be better that she just remains herself.”
And, in fact, while she doesn’t confirm that Babs was ever intended to become Harley Quinn directly, it does still seem that she might be the DC personality the actor is talking about. But Richards also told Showbiz Junkies, “It was a different character, we’ve taken elements of that character, but the version of Barbara that we have is kind of more evolved than the character that we had in mind, and the elements of that character we had in mind that were a little bit less, kind of, worldly… it was a little bit restrictive.” Whichever character Barbara was meant to become remained nameless throughout the interview. “I don’t really want to say who it is,” Richard said, “because I’m not going to be her.”
David Mazouz, the actor who plays Bruce, also had some possibly spoiler-y comments about the future of Barbara’s character to share. He suggested in an interview with ComicBook.com, “Maybe she can get good again, and [Jim and Barbara will] get back together at some point soon.”
Now, it’s possible Mazouz was attempting to be ironic here, and Barbara and Jim’s differences will be even more pronounced now that’s she’s apparently reinventing herself again. A rekindling of their season 1 romance would be seriously surprising news based on how Barbara has behaved for the last two and a half seasons, going from troubled heiress to a patricidal maniac with a passion for organized crime and torture, whose fascination with her ex-boyfriend Jim is based more on obsession than affection.
But she was electrocuted at the end of season 3. And while Gotham bringing characters back from the dead is old hat for the show, revival usually comes with a serious personality transplant. After all, the first time Babs had a near-death experience with the Ogre, she wound up becoming the villainous self audiences have come to know and love. So, perhaps Jim and Barbara will wind up getting back together because she’ll pivot back to goodness. And it’s not as though Jim doesn’t have a dark side of his own—even without the Alice Tetch virus to bring it out.
So, it no longer seems as though Barbara is on her way to becoming Harley Quinn. But it’s hard to shake what Richards told CinemaBlend at the end of Gotham Season 3: “I think something major would have to happen to Barbara for her to fully become Harley Quinn. Because Harley Quinn is kind of… she doesn’t, to me, have the motivation that Babs has … I think if she was to then morph into Harley Quinn, there would have to be something that happened that sort of stripped away that kind of scheming side of her so that she would just become, I guess, unhinged in the world. That, to me, is what Harley Quinn represents.”
Barbara might have become a little unhinged over the course of Season 3, but unfortunately, it sounds like fans hoping to see Gotham take on the iconic Harley Quinn will just have to wait a little bit longer to see if the show incorporates her and how.