The DC Universe just imported some star wattage from The Big Bang Theory. Kaley Cuoco will voice the title character of the animated series Harley Quinn, which will follow the daft and diabolical villainess who’s become one of the true fan favorites among DC’s vast catalog of costumed characters.
For 12 seasons of The Big Bang Theory, Cuoco has portrayed Penny, the affable aspiring actress who is introduced as the neighbor of the show’s two nerdy central characters, Sheldon and Leonard (who eventually marries Penny). The fan affection for Penny led to a rousing response to Cuoco’s casting as Harley Quinn, which was unveiled Wednesday by Warner Bros Animation at an event kicking off this weekend’s New York Comic Con.
The event was dedicated to upcoming offerings on DC Universe, the streaming service that entices superhero fans to pay $7.99 a month for access to new TV shows, digital comics, fan forums, exclusive merchandise as well as a rotating archive of vintage DC movies and TV series.
Harley Quinn and Young Justice: Outsiders are the two announced animated franchises that will be offered through DC Universe. There are four live-action productions as well: Titans (which premiered at the Wednesday night event as the headline offering), Doom Patrol, Swamp Thing and Stargirl.
The animated Harley Quinn series was previewed via a short video crafted especially for Wednesday’s event (check it out above). The irrepressible Harley was introduced as a character not in the comics but on television on a September 1992 episode of the acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series. Harley was portrayed by Margot Robbie in the 2016 feature film Suicide Squad.
Cuoco joins a voice ensemble on Harley Quinn that includes Lake Bell (Childrens Hospital), Alan Tudyk (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), Ron Funches (Powerless), J.B. Smoove (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Jason Alexander (Seinfeld), Wanda Sykes (Black-ish), Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad), Natalie Morales (BoJack Horseman), Jim Rash (Mike Tyson Mysteries), Diedrich Bader (Veep), Tony Hale (Arrested Development) and Chris Meloni (Law & Order: SVU).
In a nod to her cachet with fans of Comic Con culture, Cuoco also will be an executive producer on the series through her company, Yes, Norman Productions, which celebrates its one-year anniversary this month. Cuoco shares the show’s executive producer duties with Justin Halpern, Patrick Schumacker and Dean Lorey.
Fans likely will comb through the 250-plus episodes of The Big Bang Theory looking for Gotham City connections that take on a new resonance now. One of those examples: In a 2009 episode, Penny’s date with a comic book store worker employee named Stuart ends with a fizzle — she dozes off while her suitor and Big Bang’s apex nerd, Sheldon, debate whether Batman’s rightful heir should be Dick Grayson (the original Robin the Boy Wonder) or Jason Todd (Grayson’s successor as sidekick). That makes Penny a girl after Harley Quinn’s heart.