Why Black Mask Doesn't Look Anything Like Black Mask In Birds of Prey (Yet)

Ewan McGregor as Black Mask alongside the comic book depiction of Black Mask in a photo-shopped image for Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020)

Originally written By Adrienne Tyler for Screen Rant

Black Mask will be the villain in Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), but he doesn’t look like his comic book version – at least for now. DC’s Extended Universe continues its expansion with a new perspective and tone that will hopefully make up for some previous films, which haven’t been exactly the best. Among its upcoming films is Birds of Prey, directed by Cathy Yan and written by Christina Hodson.

Birds of Prey will reunite viewers with Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), who after the events in Suicide Squad decided to leave the Joker for good. Batman is now gone and Gotham City is left unprotected – the perfect opportunity for some of DC’s villains to bring some chaos. Birds of Prey will feature Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), with Roman Sionis aka Black Mask (Ewan McGregor) as the villain. Although a full Birds of Prey trailer hasn’t been released, a teaser and some set photos have shown what the characters will look like in this version, but Black Mask doesn’t appear like he does in the comics.

As the name says, Roman Sionis wears a black mask, and after an encounter with Batman and Robin in which Black Mask set his family’s home on fire and fell face-first on the burning floor, his mask is now seared onto his face. The first teaser for Birds of Prey gave a very quick look at Ewan McGregor as Sionis, though not exactly as Black Mask, as he is shown sans the character’s signature mask. Birds of Prey set photos haven’t shown him wearing the mask either, but given the changes made to his backstory for the film, it makes sense that he won’t look like in the comics – for a while, at least.

Black Mask-comic

Roman will be wearing an actual mask instead of showing up with his black skull exposed, so he can easily go from businessman Roman Sionis to crime lord Black Mask throughout the story. Taking into account that actors need face time, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if he doesn’t look like the Black Mask fans have come to know until, maybe, the end of Birds of Prey. Plus, it wouldn’t be the first time this happens in a DC film – looking back to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, Cillian Murphy’s Jonathan Crane spent a big part of his screen time in Batman Begins without the Scarecrow mask, and even Tom Hardy as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises had some brief on-screen time with his face uncovered.

Given Black Mask’s popularity and importance within the Batman universe, Ewan McGregor will eventually wear the character’s signature look, but it might not be right away. As mentioned above, the events in Birds of Prey could lead to Roman wearing the mask at the end or set the ground for a full Black Mask appearance in future films.