Why Harley Quinn Season 3 Removed An MCU Thanos Joke From The DC Show

Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker, showrunners and co-creators of the animated Harley Quinn series, have explained why they steered clear of including a Marvel joke during their show’s upcoming third season. Featuring the vocal talents of Big Bang Theory’s Kaley Cuoco as the titular DC villain turned anti-hero, the first two seasons of Harley Quinn made their original debut on the now-defunct DC Universe streaming platform. The show’s third season is only weeks away from making its debut on HBO Max, with the first three episodes set to drop on July 28.

Over the previous years, the show’s scathing humor has taken aim not only at some of DC’s biggest characters including Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, but has also poked fun at various aspects of comic book culture as a whole. In season 2 the show even parodied members of the Snyder Cut movement who were seeking to have Zack Snyder’s original vision for the Justice League movie released. Harley Quinn season 3 looks as though it is set to continue this trend of poking fun at the real-life fandom by bringing The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker director James Gunn on board for a cameo appearance.


Related: Harley Quinn Season 3 Perfectly Mocks DC's Batman Sex Rule Controversy

With Gunn having worked across both the Marvel and DC cinematic universes, most fans would assume the timing is perfect for Harley Quinn to take aim at DC’s cinematic rival in the show’s third season. During a recent Instagram AMA (via The Direct), Halpern and Schumacker revealed that they had indeed planned a Thanos joke to be included but ultimately decided against it because it “felt like it was maybe breaking the world of the show”. Check out their full comments below:

We even had some Marvel jokes in there, which we ended up not being able to include in the show... I think we ended up just like saying, ‘Eh, it kind of breaks the world of the show.’ But we had a joke… [with] Thanos and then Clayface was like, ‘Who’s Thanos?’ But it just felt like it was maybe breaking the world of the show. But who knows, maybe we’ll get some bonus content out there at some point.

James Gunn in Harley Quinn Season 3

Given how off-the-wall some of the show’s humor has been over the past two seasons, it would be hard to envision any joke “breaking the world of the show”, but Halpern and Schumacker know best. Nonetheless, it does feel like a missed opportunity especially given Gunn’s deep involvement in The Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. Furthermore, the connections between the MCU and DCEU are continuing to deepen with Batgirl directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah also having come off working on the MCU’s Ms. Marvel series. No doubt many fans of Harley Quinn would also be fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and there would be plenty of fertile ground to parody the rivalry between the two comic book franchises.

Regardless of whether or not Harley Quinn season 3 references the MCU, fans of the show are no doubt more eager than ever to devour the season’s first three episodes when they are released on HBO Max this month. After a 2 year wait, audiences will be keen to see how Harley and Ivy’s freshly minted romance plays out and discover what other surprises Halpern and Schumacker have in store. With any luck, the cut MCU jokes will eventually find their way online for all to enjoy.