What Gives, Mistah J? Harley Quinn Gets New Voice for ‘Batman: Arkham City’
The producers of Batman: Arkham City have confirmed that Arleen Sorkin, the actress whose voice helped bring to life the character of Harley Quinn in numerous animated series and in the popular video game Batman: Arkham Asylum, will not appear in the new video game. Harley Quinn will instead be voiced by Tara Strong, known to DC Comics fans for her work as Batgirl in Batman: The Animated Series and as the Huntress in Batman: The Brave and the Bold. In a post on the official Batman: Arkham City forum, Rocksteady Studios Community Manager Sarah Wellock confirmed that Arleen Sorkin is not voicing Harley Quinn in the game, and that Tara Strong will be playing the part instead. Wellock interviewed Strong, an experienced performer with a hugely impressive resume, about her work on the game and her estimation of Harley.
Q: Harley has come a long way since the animated series, how do you think she’s changed?
A: I think over time, she, like many of the classic Batman characters, has gotten sleeker and more sophisticated, without losing her essence.
Q: How is Harley different from The Huntress who you voiced in Batman: The Brave and the Bold?
A: Stepping into the role of Harley Quinn is an enormous honor that I do not take lightly. She has an established voice and character that I definitely wanted to honor. Huntress is a completely different character that I helped create vocally from scratch.
Q: Harley Quinn has a very troubled relationship with The Joker, do you see the appeal?
A: Of course there’s a great appeal! Super sweet , and loyal, she puts up with a lot. Everyone loves the hopeless romantic/ wacko!
While Strong is a demonstrably brilliant performer and arguably the best choice for a replacement, fans of Harley Quinn are naturally curious as to why Sorkin will not be playing the part in the Arkham Asylum sequel. Wellock nor anyone else involved with Arkham City has commented publicly on the matter, despite numerous inquiries from forum members.
Sorkin originated the role of Harley Quinn, who was created by producers Paul Dini and Bruce Timm for Batman: The Animated Series with inspiration from Sorkin’s own personality. Thanks in large part to Sorkin’s work, Harley has become a widely recognized and integral part of the Dark Knight’s rogues’ gallery across numerous mediums, and her vocal contributions to Arkham Asylum — alongside fellow Batman: The Animated Series alumni Kevin Conroy and Mark Hammil — is cited by many players as and pundits as an important component of that game’s tremendous success. Sorkin also voices Harley in DC Universe Online.
Few voice actors are as strongly identified with a comic book character as Arleen Sorkin is with Harley Quinn, so we truly hope that this Arkham City development is the consequence of some kind of scheduling conflict or an arcane contract negotiation, and that — with all due respect to Tara Strong — we haven’t heard the last of Arleen Sorkin in her signature role.