Jurnee Smollett’s Excellent Black Canary Is Getting Her Own Movie

Was Birds of Prey really only last year? Are we sure? Well, then: Just last year, Cathy Yan’s Birds of Prey gave us a Harley Quinn-centric movie that also had an all-around excellent supporting cast, including Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress and Jurnee Smollett as Black Canary.

Any one of the characters in that film could be the star of their own project–and now, that’s exactly what’s happening. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Smollett will return to the role of Dinah Lance/Black Canary in a feature for HBO Max. Making the news even better is the fact that Lovecraft Country showrunner Misha Green is writing the script.

Smollett was great in Birds of Prey and even better in Lovecraft Country, and the once-and-future colleagues seem really excited to work together again:

It sounds as if this project, like DC’s Batgirl and Blue Beetle, is being developed as an HBO Max exclusive, without theatrical release. There’s no word on what the film’s story will be, though with Batgirl also in the works, there’s always potential for Dinah Lance and Barbara Gordon to team up. One of the great delights of Birds of Prey was the way the film made room for multiple generations of vivid female characters, from Cassandra Cain to Renee Montoya. We can only hope the Black Canary film does as well.

Over the decades since the character’s introduction in the ’40s, two women have primarily had the Canary name: Dinah Drake and her daughter Dinah Lance. Sometimes the Black Canary doesn’t have any superpowers, and relies on her fighting skills and/or a technological sonic device; sometimes she’s a metahuman with a powerful “canary cry.” Many, many versions of the character have appeared in various DC animation projects, where she’s been voiced by everyone from Morena Baccarin (Firefly) to Vanessa Marshall (Star Wars Rebels).

Prior to Birds of Prey, the best-known live-action version of the Black Canary was Arrow‘s Dinah Laurel Lance, played by Katie Cassidy. Laurel was just a regular old attorney until the murder of her sister Sara, who had been the Canary briefly. Laurel took up the Canary mantle, training herself up to fight alongside the Green Arrow until her own murder a few seasons later. (And of course, Sara Lance didn’t stay dead, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.)

No director or release date or definite title has been announced for Green and Smollett’s Canary project, and it might be a while before we learn more; Green is attached to Tomb Raider 2, among other projects, and Smollett is set to appear in Netflix’s adaptation of George Saunders’ Escape from Spiderhead.

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