Voice actress Arleen Sorkin, who defined the character of Harley Quinn in Batman: The Animated Series, will not be reprising her role in the upcoming Arkham City.
The critically acclaimed 1990s cartoon Batman: The Animated Series brought Bat-fans everywhere the defining voices for many of DC’s iconic characters. Kevin Conroy was a stalwart Dark Knight, Mark Hamill nailed a legendary performance as the Joker, and Arleen Sorkin captured the part of Harley Quinn, Joker’s lovesick, devoted and slightly psychotic sidekick.
These actors have reprised their roles many a time since then, like with 2009’s stellar Batman: Arkham Asylum. Some are returning for its sequel – though Mark Hamill has confirmed that it will be the final time he voices Joker – but Sorkin’s Harley Quinn will not be one of them.
Replacing Arleen Sorkin as Harley will be veteran voice actor Tara Strong, who has voiced quite literally hundreds of characters. She’s been Bubbles in Powerpuff Girls, Rikku in Final Fantasy X, and has most recently taken the internet by storm as unicorn mage Twilight Sparkle in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
This won’t be Strong’s first time in the Batman universe, either – she voiced Batgirl in the TAS followup The New Batman Adventures as well as in several games, and has also appeared on Batman: The Brave and the Bold as Huntress.
There’s an excellent Q&A with Ms. Strong on the Arkham City site, in which she assures fans of Arleen Sorkin’s Harley that she knows the role has “an established voice and character” that she intends to honor to the best of her ability. Given the wide variety of her roles, one can only imagine she has the chops for it.
Make no mistake, Tara Strong is certainly a talented and varied voice actor, and I have no doubt that she’ll do a great job as Harley Quinn. That doesn’t mean that part of me won’t kind of miss Arleen Sorkin’s “puddin’,” though – it might be a great performance, but it won’t be what we’re used to, and I don’t blame fans for being a bit disappointed.