After Wonder Woman, there's a renewed interest in the DCEU. Additionally, with War for the Planet of the Apes finally releasing, Matt Reeves will now be turning his full attention towards directing the upcoming Batman solo film. Information on the film is scarce so far, but the biggest question I have so far is whether or not we'll see Robin.
We already know that there has been a Robin at some point in this universe, who was confirmed to have been killed by Joker and Harley. Beyond that, we really don't have many clues. There was a gravestone with "Richard Grayson" engraved on it in Batman v Superman, but it's questionable at best as to whether or not that was canon, as it was barely even a background detail. It would seem absurd to simply have the original Robin dead before this franchise begins, but this is the movie that killed Jimmy Olsen in the opening two minutes, so anything goes.
Getting beyond the details that suggest Robin's presence in this universe, I want to present why, regardless of Easter Eggs, he should damn well be in the next #Batman film.
1. Robin Has Always Been There
While the movies would have you believe that Robin is essentially a peripheral character in the Batman mythos, he's been around from the beginning. Debuting in Detective Comics #38, he actually predates Joker's first introduction, and has stayed integral to the Batman comics ever since. Dick Grayson — the original Robin — has been continuously popular for almost as long as Batman, taking up the alias of "Nightwing." Several other characters have also become Robin over the years, and the incredible thing about them is that each and every one has, at some point, been interesting.
Beyond that though, isn't it just kinda weird that only two (three if you count the Adam West movie) of the of the eight live-action Batman movies have featured the Boy Wonder? That's like Superman not having Lois Lane in his films, or Spider-Man failing to show Aunt May. Robin is a staple of the Batman universe, and I feel it's about time the movies started acknowledging him as such.
2. Batman Needs Balance
Especially when it comes to Ben Affleck's more brutal version of Batman, there's always been a need for Robin to act as a joyful foil to his grim demeanor. On top of that, seeing Batman as a mentor brings out his more sympathetic side. Every different version of Robin brings out a different aspect of Bruce Wayne's character, and we need to see new sides to him after so many films retreading the same ground.
Dick Grayson shows his caring, playful nature, Jason Todd challenges his morals, Tim Drake shows his teaching skills, Damian Wayne forces him to adapt as a father, Stephanie Brown showcases his paranoia, and Carrie Kelly, well Carrie Kelly is there to emphasize that Batman is a lunatic in The Dark Knight Returns, but that's definitely a direction open to our current Batman.
Everyone has a favorite Robin, and most people have one they don't like so much, but to ignore all of these characters is to ignore a massive wealth of engaging stories that fans want, and non-fans don't yet know they want.
3. Building A World
One large criticism of Batman v Superman is that the world-building was incredibly shoehorned in. Watching video clips of other superheroes via e-mail was one undisputed problem in the film, and while the glimpse of the Robin suit was interesting, it wasn't developed enough. Expanding upon Robin's legacy makes Batman's backstory more engaging, and it makes Gotham City a more vibrant place. On top of that, with Joss Whedon making Batgirl, and a Nightwing movie in the works, it's necessary to establish the role of Robin in this universe, whether we do it before or during those two films.
The sheer number of Robins and depth of their characters' experiences makes them a vibrant part of this cinematic universe.
4. The Legacy Of Batman
Bruce Wayne can't be Batman forever, and neither can Ben Affleck. The price we pay for seeing an older version of the character is that we can't see him for very long. One option is to show prequel stories of the character, but I don't think anyone wants a recasting at this point.
On the other hand, if any version of Robin is introduced, and Batman retires or dies, then the mantle (and brand) can be kept alive, giving us a chance for a fantastic story about Batman's legacy. The internal struggle created by Batman's absence is a common theme in the comics, and it's something that absolutely deserves to make it onto the big screen. Beyond that, giving new characters a chance to wear the cape and cowl opens dozens of new doors for cool alternate Bat-Suits, and those are always fun.
Batman is an icon that transcends Bruce Wayne, and seeing something done with the hero that follows him is an opportunity — both in storytelling and business — that should not be missed.
5. It Distinguishes This Reboot
We're on our third film version of Batman, and our fifth actor to play the character. Each new interpretation of the hero has its iconic elements, but Robin has never been one of them. Nobody likes Chris O'Donnell's take on the character, and he wasn't even in The Dark Knight trilogy. If we were to get a Batman movie or a spin-off that nailed Robin, it would easily separate it from the others.
I don't think it would be fair to say that Ben Affleck's Caped Crusader is particularly similar to his predecessors, but Robin would certainly bring something new to this franchise that wasn't present in any others. Sidekicks are generally snubbed in the current boom of superhero films, but Robin is too deeply ingrained into Batman's world to be similarly ignored. If you want to truly emphasize that we're getting a fresh take on the character, then bring in Robin, and I can promise you that no one will confuse it with Nolan's Batman.
I have no doubt that we'll see Robin show up to some degree in the new DC Extended Universe; the only real question is when and how much. Preferably, it will be sooner rather than later, and hopefully we get a good representation. If I were to guess, then I'd say that we'll get a Jason Todd/Red Hood story arc since it's the only thing that's been set up as of yet.
I'm hopeful for a Matt Reeves Batman film, as well as the solo Nightwing picture. What do you want to see from Robin? Tell us in the comments below, and if you want to, feel free to vote on your favorite version of Robin in the poll.