In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice audiences got a brief look at the suit of a dead Robin, and many think it's Jason Todd, the second Robin in the comics. DC "revealed" (a statement I use lightly, as will be revealed in the third point) that it was Jason Todd (suggesting that he's the only dead Robin), although this doesn't quite make sense, given the way the films work. There are a lot of reasons for why DC wouldn’t want Jason Todd to be the dead Robin whose costume is displayed, and why it probably isn't him, and here they are:
1. Jason Todd's Character Is An Overused Plot Point
Jason Todd's Robin died in 1988's Batman: A Death in the Family, just 5 years after his introduction as a replacement for the original Robin, Dick Grayson. This death came to pass because of a vote DC held for fans to see if they wanted to keep that Robin alive. Since then, the idea of him still being alive was used a few times, first in the comic book Batman: Hush, but this was revealed to be Clayface. Then, in the story Under the Hood he actually came back from the dead. That story was further adapted into an animated movie by the name of Batman: Under the Red Hood. Furthermore, Jason Todd turned out to be the violent new Batman in Batman: Battle for the Cowl. While this particularly isn't really that big a deal, it reached a certain level of absurdity when the video game Batman: Arkham Knight was released and the identity of the Arkham Knight was explicitly said to be an "original character," only to be eventually revealed as Jason Todd. To add fuel to the fire, a fan theory started circulating late last year (and has subsequently become the subject of mockery) that the Joker in Suicide Squad was actually Jason Todd. To use Jason Todd is expected and tired. Although, he could still be the Robin suit if DC isn’t really trying to play with expectations.
2. The Costume Itself
The costume doesn't really look like the Jason Todd costume, and the costume is holding a weapon of some sort. Dick Grayson's Robin became Nightwing and used two electrically charged billy clubs (Escrima sticks), Tim Drake's Robin (the third Robin) used a staff and Damian Wayne's Robin (the fourth male and fifth overall) used multiple weapons, particularly a staff and at some points a sword. Jason Todd never really used any significant weapons during his time as Robin. Thus, in terms of the weapon, it'd only apply to Dick Grayson, Tim Drake and Damian Wayne (and particularly Tim and Damian, considering it's more staff-like than anything).
3. The 'Confirmation' Is Insubstantial
The actual "confirmation" isn't really built on much. Such "confirmations" have been made before, such as Deathstroke in Suicide Squad and Mr. Zsasz was originally confirmed for Batman v Superman. Some that had been confirmed turned out to be untrue so as to facilitate the plot. To this day, Liam Neeson is listed as Ducard, while Ken Watanabe is listed as Ra's al Ghul on the Batman Begins IMDb page (and Marion Cotillard is still listed as Miranda as opposed to Talia al Ghul for The Dark Knight Rises), and for that Ra's al Ghul one, DC actually announced it. That same practice of tricking the audience was used with Marvel for the Mandarin in Iron Man 3.
But this confirmation about Jason Todd didn't even really come as official as those (and that information can be found HERE). The information was actually revealed via a video for the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood. The tour guide says the words:
“This was one of the big things from 'Batman v Superman,' right across this way. The Jason Todd Robin suit. Spray painted on the front ‘Ha ha. The joke’s on you Batman.’ Those of you that know the storyline, know what happened to this Robin.”
The thing is, the tour guide doesn't really have authority to know such a thing, and such a statement sounds like fan conjecture (particularly that of someone who is using the only real information to suggest it's Jason, which is the fact that it's displayed in the Batcave, like in the comics). Furthermore, that video was taken down, which suggests that Warner Bros had a problem with it. They might've had a problem with the fact that Jason Todd was revealed to be the dead Robin, so removing the video would be what they do before they actually release that confirmation, but that video was released back in May, and it's been three months now, with no official statement from Warner Bros. They've just let it sit. What could be the reason for not releasing a statement (especially in this age of confirmation where viable news includes the fact that a trailer is confirmed to be a specific length or that Henry Cavill is wearing a Green Lantern shirt)?
To put it in perspective, the recent reveal that Deathstroke was going to be in the DC movie universe was revealed via a simple video on Ben Affleck’s Twitter on the 29th.
Later that same day, the information was confirmed via The Wrap. So why has DC done nothing with this "reveal"? Maybe because the reveal really doesn't mean much to them because it's not Jason Todd's costume.
So who would it be and why would it make sense? Well I happen to think that the dead Robin is:
That’s right! Bruce Wayne’s son and the most recent of the Robins, but this theory doesn’t just rely on the suit being Damian Wayne’s. This all comes down to something very different DC could do with the story, by having TWO Robins dead, with the suit belonging to Damian Wayne. Here’s why:
1. The Costume
Damian Wayne suits the costume and weapon, as mentioned previously
2. Joker's Note
This helps explain the Joker's note (or at least we think it's the Joker). While it could be incredibly direct and actually just be a reference to the destruction of Wayne Tower, I think otherwise. The note is clearly from the Joker, and he wouldn’t gloat if he didn’t personally cause the destruction. We know he didn’t cause the Wayne Tower destruction, so this is obviously in relation to something else. Joker would know that Bruce was Batman if he'd have uncovered Damian's identity after death.
"You let your family die" could most definitely be a reference to Batman's Bat-Family (and most people assumed it was about Robin), and a family doesn't constitute just one person. Also, in the most literal sense, Jason Todd is a part of his "Bat-Family," the employees of Wayne Tower are part of his "work family," but his "real" family are his parents and his son. Some could say that he let his parents die, but given how close this scene is to the Robin suit reveal (and how nobody would blame a boy for his parents getting shot unless they're a delusional sociopath), there's a heavy suggestion that it relates to Robin.
3. Bruce's Attitude
Damian Wayne definitely is a possibility, considering this Batman is older and has experienced more, thus Damian chronologically could’ve existed. Plus, Batman is sad to the point of pure rage. In the comic book, he nearly goes insane and defies all of his old principles after Damian dies. This includes:
Dissecting Justice League Dark member Frankenstein to find the secret to resurrection (before opposing Tim Drake for trying to stop him)
Using Jason Todd's guns (despite his hatred of guns, a moral code which is something many felt Affleck's Batman wasn't too caring about), and disabling criminals by killing the nerves in their hands before finally psychologically attacking Todd by bringing him back to the place where he was beaten to death by the Joker, so that Batman can convince him to help bring Damian back, they fight...
...and Batman briefly becomes the Joker as he goads Todd over the spot he died.
Stealing a super-powered Batsuit, trying to take on the entirety of the Justice League and heading to the planet Apokolips alone to take down Darkseid (whom the whole Justice League consider a strong force to be reckoned with)
Jason's death causes a bad reaction, but not nearly as bad as the insanity of some of these instances.
The recent announcement of Deathstroke as a main villain in The Batman movie makes a lot of sense in this way. Deathstroke is an incredibly cool character, but there isn't really much depth to him that would warrant making him a main villain (especially since Batman has a plethora of excellent villains and Deathstroke isn’t primarily a Batman villain). The reason he works in Arrow is because they change his origin so that he has ties to Oliver Queen.
The only animated movie which has featured Deathstroke in anything close to a main role is in the Son of Batman film, which features him going up against Damian Wayne. If he'd killed Damian in that situation, Bruce would still be angry at him, thus giving the character of Deathstroke more depth. This would give him a real presence and make him relevant. Especially when you consider Deathstroke coming up to Batman and saying something like THIS (which Ron Perlman, the voice actor, actually retweeted). In the animated TV show Teen Titans, Deathstroke has ties to Robin (although this Robin is suggested to be Dick Grayson, but a Robin connection all the same). In the New 52 Batman and Robin comic book series, Deathstroke is employed by Talia al Ghul to control Damian Wayne, which furthers his connection to Damian. In the recent series Robin: Son of Batman (as shown above), Damian Wayne again comes into contact with Deathstroke as an enemy.
5. Positive Exposure
Damian's character really needs positive exposure, since a lot of people seem to hate him for some reason. Putting him in a movie is a good way to do that. Jason Todd already has immense bouts of exposure as being a great Robin (or at least a great Red Hood), alongside Dick Grayson. The only other Robin that needs exposure is Tim Drake, and even he had a main character role in Young Justice’s second season (and a sort of titular role in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker) and is fairly respected. Don't get me wrong though, I still think there's be room for Jason Todd and the Red Hood storyline.
6. David Ayer's Statement
After Suicide Squad came out and people were still complaining about Joker’s grills and the "damaged" tattoo, David Ayer (the director of the movie) had this to say:
“This is sort of my personal thing and maybe less about a larger connection but Joker killed Robin and Batman basically smashes his teeth out and locks him up in Arkham Asylum...It’s in the asylum where Joker would have done the ‘damaged’ tattoo as a message to Batman saying, ‘You’ve damaged me. I was so beautiful before and now you’ve destroyed my face.’ That’s where the grill comes from.”
This appeased people for a little while, except when they started to think about it. It made no sense, since the movie has a scene where it was revealed that Harley Quinn was involved in the murder of Robin...
...and the Joker had the grills and damaged tattoo when he met her, which doesn’t make chronological sense. Of course, this theory doesn't have to be canon, since it’s a "personal thing" and he could've thought about it without thinking of the logic of it. If he did think about it in terms of the logic of the film, the idea of two Robins makes sense. First, Joker killed a Robin. Batman punched his teeth out. Joker tattooed his head. Then Joker met Harley and they killed another Robin.
7. Doing Something Different
Two Robins dying is something people won't expect and could definitely be an interesting twist that could stop DC from their current trend of not really doing anything particularly unique or groundbreaking (or so the general opinion suggests).
8. Zack Snyder's Theory
While not official (and probably not relevant since he no longer has much control in the universe) Zack Snyder said that in his mind, Robin had died 10 years before the events of Batman v Superman. Again, this is all in his mind, but it is quite interesting to note that if it happened 10 years ago, why would Batman still be so angry? Unless it happened again and he couldn't stop it
9. The Writing On The Costume
The actual writing on the suit is "Ha, Ha. Jokes on you Batman." From this we know that this is Joker and he may or may not be responsible for Robin's death (for all we know he could've broken into the Batcave with a spray can). Now, let's get into the mind of the Joker and set up two situations:
Situation 1 — Batman has a Robin (Jason Todd), Joker kidnaps him and kills him. He writes on his body: "Jokes on you." This doesn't quite make sense, but the Joker doesn't quite make sense (even though he does have some twisted logic behind what he does) so maybe, but how about this?
Situation 2 — Batman has a Robin (Jason Todd), Joker kidnaps him and kills him. Batman punches Joker's teeth out and promises to never let something like that happen again. Joker comes back with revenge for the teeth-breaking and kills another Robin, writing on his body, purely out of spite "Ha, Ha. Jokes on you Batman" because he couldn't protect yet another Robin and the Joker got the last laugh even though Batman punched his teeth out. This could make even more sense if he did it from a prison cell, and used Deathstroke, suggesting that Batman isn't safe even when Joker is locked away.
Besides this, we should also consider that in the comics, Jason's body is not in any way defiled after death. Damian's was. He was dug up twice, put into a weird sarcophagus and experimented with.
10. Goatboy And Joker
For this final point, in the comics, Damian Wayne dies in Gotham’s Most Wanted. That storyline is part of the 2012–2013 run of Batman Incorporated, particularly issue 8. He is killed by the Heretic, an agent of Talia al Ghul and her terrorist cell Leviathan. Earlier in that run (Issue 1), a killer called Goatboy fakes the death of Damian, having been sent by Leviathan to kill him. Basically, Goatboy’s appearance set off a domino effect that eventually ends with Robin dying.
The first time we see Goatboy in the story is in an abattoir holding the place hostage. In Suicide Squad we see someone wearing a goat mask as they take control of some place.
This could just be a new character, or even the Spirit of the Goat (the brilliant original villain from Gotham), but a goat mask seems like an odd coincidence. The Joker is involved in the situation that we see the goat mask man in, the scene being the one where Joker actually drives Harley insane. This could be the event that leads to Damian dying. If Joker is a stand-in for Leviathan, then he could've employed Goatboy and then killed Damian himself (or through the use of Deathstroke, since Deathstroke wouldn't do much unless specifically contracted to), like Talia did. In the movie, Joker does have an abattoir where he interrogates people, so this could be a place he has previously been.
Something else, although this might be stretching it, but in the comic book storyline Talia wears a black mask and calls herself Gorgon (although she looks like a female Black Mask). Black Mask is rumored to be playing a role in The Batman movie, and in the Arkham games, Joker pretends to be Black Mask. While a very tenuous connection, this could still possibly mean something.
The death of Jason Todd wasn't the first and only time that Batman has experienced tragic loss. Check out the video below and see all the times that Batman has lost his family:
So what do you think? Is the Robin suit Jason Todd, or is it someone different? Is it two Robins? Is it Tim Drake? Does it matter? Is DC going the expected route, or they doing something different and clever? Is Joker Talia and Deathstroke the Heretic? Any holes in my theory? Who agrees? Let’s talk about it in the comments.