Sadness of the day: Arleen Sorkin, long time voice of Harley Quinn in pretty much everything, will not be returning for Batman: Arkham City alongside her cast-mates Kevin Conroy (Batman) and Mark Hamil (The Joker).
Three original castmembers of Batman: The Animated Series was very sweet icing on the incredible cake of Batman: Arkham Asylum , considering that they are the voices that anyone who grew up on the series hears for those characters in their heads. Sorkin doubly so for Harley, because while Batman and The Joker had had numerous previous film adaptations (Adam West, Michael Keaton, Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson), Harley was an original character created for Batman: Animated.
The character of Harley Quinn was one of Batman: Animated‘s biggest effects on comic continuity (though the character of Renee Montoya made the crossover to canon, along with a not insignificant number of villain origin revamps), and Paul Dini, one of the creators of the cartoon, has mentioned repeatedly that Sorkin’s own real personality inspired and informed Harley as a character (although we do hope the tendency towards abusive boyfriends was not part of it).
The Arkham Asylum games may be the last places that fans have to hear the Batman: Animated actors play those characters, as the Nolan Batman movies wind to a close (Conroy got a chance to reprise Batman in Gotham Knight, the Animatrix of The Dark Knight). Mark Hamil has also stated that Arkham City will be the last time we get to hear him as the definitive voice of the Joker (yeah, don’t even try to contradict me. Search your feelings. You know it to be true).
While we’ll miss Sorkin’s thick Long Island accent and bubbly delivery (not to mention her “Mistah Jay”s), her replacement is about as good a candidate as you could realistically wish for. Not only has Tara Strong worked with Sorkin, as the voice of Batgirl in Batman: Animated from 1997 on, the rest of her voice acting resume is about as strong as one could want it to be, with credits from Raven in The Teen Titans, Timmy Turner of The Fairly OddParents, Bubbles of The Powerpuff Girls, Dil Pickels of Rugrats, Ilana of Sym-Bionic Titan, Twilight Sparkle of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and bit parts in pretty much every notable American cartoon series since the year 2000.
But before we sign off, I can’t not leave you with a clip of one of Arleen Sorkin’s greatest moments as Harley, complete with headdesking Batman.
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