Why A Black Canary HBO Max Series Is Perfect (& What It Could Explore)

Following her appearance in Birds of Prey and her upcoming solo film, Jurnee Smollett's Black Canary has her own HBO Max TV show coming and it's the perfect decision. The Black Canary is one of DC Comics' most beloved super-heroines as Dinah Laurel Lance has appeared in multiple DC properties outside of the books. With projects like Justice League Unlimited, the Arrowverse, and the DCEU, Black Canary has popped up on the screen for over a decade. Smollett became the first actress to portray Dinah on the big screen in 2020's Birds of Prey, appearing alongside Huntress, Renee Montoya, Harley Quinn, and Cassandra Cain. She's now getting her own solo Black Canary film on HBO Max, which could be the perfect kickoff for a high-budget streaming series.

It all started with the #BlackCanaryHBOSeries hashtag campaign, where fans showed support in wanting to see Smollett reprise her DCEU character. Fellow DC creators like Gail Simone, who has written for Black Canary in her critically acclaimed Birds of Prey comics, even expressed the desire to see Dinah get a solo show. There have been over 10,000 tweets for this campaign, resulting in #BlackCanaryHBOSeries trending on Twitter. Smollett said multiple times that she would love to play Black Canary again. Given that Dinah's journey had only just begun in Birds of Prey, the movie has a ton of potential, but there are even more stories that a Black Canary show could explore.

Related: Why The Batman's Earth-2 Setting Is Better Than It Being In The Proper DCEU

HBO Max is already serving as a platform for original DC shows and spinoffs related to the movies such as Peacemaker, focusing on the character from The Suicide Squad. Warner Bros. and DC Films have talked about wanting to do spinoff projects from most of their movies, which is where a Black Canary series would fit perfectly. If the upcoming movie does well, which seems inevitable with Misha Green at the helm and Smollett returning to the role, why shouldn't HBO Max pursue a Black Canary show afterward? If Smollett's Black Canary got to star in a spinoff, there are multiple directions they could go to further flesh out the DC heroine after Birds of Prey.

In August of 2021, it was announced that a proper Black Canary solo movie was in the works, featuring Smollett in the leading role and Lovecraft Country's Misha Green taking the creative helm. The project is being developed for an exclusive streaming release on HBO Max, making it one of several big-ticket DCEU projects currently in development for the platform. There's already a lot of excitement around the movie, for which few details have been revealed, and given the critical success of Birds of Prey, it's likely to be a big hit. But the most exciting thing about the film may be its potential to set up an even bigger Black Canary series afterward. Since the movie will premiere on HBO Max, it's already perfectly set to lead right into a full-on show. Smollett's version of Black Canary is immensely popular with fans, so the scale and longevity of a series could be a great direction after reestablishing the character in the Black Canary movie. And there are some exciting storylines that could best be explored in a serialized format.

While the Dinah Laurel Lance version is the more famous Black Canary, she wasn't the first one in the DC Universe. Her mother, Dinah Drake, created the mantle during the Golden Age while being a Justice Society of America member. In Birds of Prey, Renee brought up that she knew about Dinah's mother and how she had inherited Drake's sonic scream power. Dinah, however, explained she had hated the GCPD ever since her mother died without the cops being there for her. That left Dinah forced to live on the streets of Gotham during her childhood. But that is as far as her childhood goes: a Black Canary show could go more into depth about her struggles being homeless.

Through flashbacks, Black Canary could explore how Dinah managed to survive for as long as she did. It would also be a solid way to introduce Dinah's mother and show some of her crime-fighting days to parallel with her daughter in the present. When Birds of Prey introduces Dinah, the story establishes that Dinah knows how to take care of herself, but how did she get there? What challenges did Dinah have to overcome to become as strong as she is today? A big part of Dinah's comic backstory is that Ted Grant, otherwise known as Wildcat, who was a skilled fighter and trained the young Black Canary.

Related: The Suicide Squad: Every Change To Harley Quinn From 2016 & Birds of Prey

Inserting Wildcat into Dinah's DCEU backstory would be an excellent opportunity to pull from her source material. In this iteration, Ted could be the one that kept Dinah from not dying on the streets of Gotham. Suppose Birds of Prey's Drake is in any way related to the Black Adam Justice Society. If so, that's another incredible way to do some DCEU connecting with both Drake and Wildcat. Given how little Birds of Prey focused on Dinah's backstory, exploring something like her family life and upbringing would be essential to add to a Black Canary show. There is evidently trauma that Dinah has had to process and live through, which would help expand her history.

While Birds of Prey established that Dinah got a gig as a singer at Black Mask's club, the film ends with Dinah finding herself a crime fighter. But very little is revealed about what Dinah was up to before becoming Roman's singer. Based on how they explained it in the film, he took her in years before the Birds of Prey events, without giving specifics. Black Canary would have the opportunity to not only bring Ewan McGregor's villain Black Mask back through flashbacks but flesh out his history with Dinah. Things must have taken a wrong turn for Dinah that she would be willing to accept working at Roman's club.

Despite Dinah having had her metahuman powers for a long time, Birds of Prey only shows her using it once. Another crucial element that Black Canary can highlight in Dinah's origin story is how she mastered her sonic scream. If her gift first began to develop as a child or in her teenage years, that would likely be an overwhelming challenge that Dinah had to get through, especially if she wasn't even an adult at that point. That is something not a lot of past Black Canary versions have explored over the years. While Birds of Prey did make a point of showing Dinah's reluctance to use her gift, she must have learned how to control it throughout her life.

Because Birds of Prey didn't give any specifics of the timeline, there is a lot of room for writers to add compelling aspects to Dinah's life before the 2020 film. However, Black Canary could also focus on Dinah's adventures after forming the team with Renee and Huntress. Should Birds of Prey not get sequels, Black Canary has the chance to bring those characters back in some capacity. It would allow the Birds of Prey to continue to be present in Black Canary's life while having the potential series told from Dinah's perspective. Since the film ended with them being in business together, the Birds of Prey angle would naturally factor into a Black Canary show now and then. Since Smollet's singing is also part of Black Canary's comics origins, a spinoff show could even continue to see her musical adventures continue in a new light.

Related: How to Watch Every DCEU Movie Online

Surprisingly, for as many times as Black Canary has been in live-action, past DC properties like Smallville and Arrow have never adequately explored her romance with the Green Arrow. On Smallville, Oliver Queen ended up with Chloe Sullivan, while on Arrow, they didn't give the Green Arrow/Black Canary romance a fair chance. Oliver and Dinah (or Laurel as they called her) briefly revisited their romantic past but the Arrowverse ultimately didn't go in that direction. Outside of animation, live-action has never depicted the iconic DC romance. But Black Canary could be the DC show to finally get to do it by introducing the Oliver Queen's Green Arrow into the DCEU through her show.

The point, however, is not to make this a Green Arrow/Black Canary series as Oliver should only be a supporting player rather than a co-lead. The Emerald Archer had a series that lasted for eight years, making it proper for Black Canary to have her turn. Seeing Oliver from Dinah's perspective would be refreshing and the reverse of what Arrow did. Dinah and Oliver is one of the oldest love stories in the DC Universe and deserves to get its due in live-action. If Oliver were in Black Canary, it would be a gateway to have Dinah explore life outside of Gotham City in places like Star City. But it can also serve as an opportunity to see the DCEU through Dinah's eyes, especially as movies like The Flash, Wonder Woman 3, Aquaman 2, Black Adam, and any other unannounced future DC movies to be released.

Black Canary is one of the most richly drawn characters in the DC Universe, with decades worth of stories that include her time on the Justice League, Birds of Prey, fighting alongside Green Arrow, and more. Smollett's portrayal of Dinah left viewers wanting to see her story continue after Birds of Prey, and they're getting that wish fulfilled in the upcoming HBO Max Black Canary movie. But even after that film, it would be a waste of an incredible actress and character if they don't let Dinah continue her adventures somewhere. Black Canary's story is only beginning, and with so many layers they can explore, Dinah Lance's journey would be perfect for continuing as a series on HBO Max after the release of the film.

Next: Every Batman V Superman & Justice League Reveal From Writer Chris Terrio



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