Jurnee Smollett will be returning to the role of fan-favourite DC character Black Canary, in a solo project being developed by HBO Max.
Despite some comic book fans being unhappy with the on-screen adaption of Birds of Prey (2020), Smollett made an unmistakable impact through her portrayal Dinah “Black Canary” Lance, a superheroine known for her combat skills and deadly ultrasonic “canary cry”. Following her success in the role it seemed inevitable that the Lovecraft County star would eventually have her own project, particularly after a short-lived Twitter campaign in March saw fans lobbying for a spin-off show. (It has not yet been confirmed as to whether the project will be a television series or a feature film, although Empire has claimed that the latter is more likely.)
Directed by Cathy Yan, Birds of Prey was favourably received, despite not achieving the box office success generally expected of a DC film with its worldwide gross of $201.9 million. Black Canary, however, may prove to be worth the investment. With Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn having already starred in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad—a film which garnered a far better reception than its predecessor’s—Birds of Prey appears to have been a highly promising introduction to the DC comic characters who made up its all-female main cast.
There is currently no information available as to what the project will focus on, but with the ending of Birds of Prey introducing the newly formed titular group, a Black Canary solo spin-off is likely to see the return of Dinah’s fellow vigilantes Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) and Helena “Huntress” Bertinelli (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).
Birds of Prey producer Sue Kroll is set to return for the project, and Lovecraft Country writer Misha Green is on board to write the screenplay. Following considerable controversy surrounding the sexualisation of characters like Harley Quinn, particularly in Suicide Squad, many will no doubt be reassured by the continuation of a female-led team behind the production of another female-centric DC project.
There is currently no release date or director attached to the spin-off. But with the promise of this project, the ongoing partnership between HBO and the DC Extended Universe certainly appears to be thriving.
Words by Annabel Smith
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