First up, let me say Happy Batman Day to all of you Dark Knight-loving comic fans. Now that I've got that out the way, it's time for me to shine a light on the world's greatest sidekick. Y'see, some recent news that Nightwing could appear in Ben Affleck's coming movie The Batman has got me super hyped. After reading that, I thought I’d indulge in a little comrade talk. That's right, Robin is going to hijack Batman Day, so here we go!
I'm going to start by paying homage to a person taking full advantage of the Web by auditioning for the role of Robin. This wasn't some average Joe trying out for a role that he had no shot at. Nope, this was a young actor exploiting the internet and his talents to land a dream role. Ryan Potter blew the internet up with an audition tape for the Boy Wonder.
The voice of Hiro in The Big Hero 6 showcased moves that were overwhelmingly impressive, and the sidekick hopeful garnered a ton of support from fans. He received so much support, Photoshop king BossLogic posted an image of what the Disney star might look like as Tim Drake, and it's pretty dope.
And it’s insane seeing as The Batman isn’t due to drop for another two years. The thirst is real. Comicbook.com has also posted fan-inspired concept art of what Zac Efron would look like as Jason Todd.
Again, some really cool artwork, and not too shabby on the fan cast either. And Nightwing wasn't about to be left out, with fans taking to Twitter to throw Steven Yeun some love for the role of the original Robin.
So When Did This Frenzy Start?
Let's take trip down memory lane. This all stemmed from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice giving us a look at a Bruce Wayne who is a little long in the tooth. Naturally, we can assume the vigilante veteran has had his fair share of sidekicks, especially if the DCEU is staying true to the source material. If there was one thing we knew for certain, it was of Robin's existence. There were a number of fan theories that surrounded his existence and, thanks to one giant movie Easter Egg, we got our answer.
That vandalized suite, and cryptic message from the Joker, all but confirmed our suspicions about the existence of Robin within the DCEU. The Express did us one better, reporting that the Joker was indeed responsible for Robin's death. Comicbook.com further explained that not only was the Joker behind the murder, but Harley Quinn may have been present during the ordeal.
Which Robin Did The Joker Kill?
To me and every reader of "A Death in the Family," it's clearly Jason Todd. Why would the makers of Suicide Squad choose to stray so far from the source material that fits so perfectly with this Batman? I'll get to that a bit later. But many believe it could have been Dick Grayson, while others counter that it was Tim Drake or Damian Wayne. So let's take a look at how each of these Robins could fit into the DCEU, and who could play them.
Dick Grayson: Luke Pasqualino (The Musketeers)
Dick was the first sidekick Batman ever had, and his first son. Bruce Wayne adopted Dick from a family of acrobats called the Flying Graysons after the young boy experienced a similar tragedy to the Caped Crusader when he witnessed the slaughter of his parents. Bruce offered Dick a home and this developed into the youngster's eventual mentorship as Robin. After some years, Dick grew tired of being in the shadow of his boss, so hit out on his own. With some help from Superman, he created his own original name Nightwing, and with the blessing of the Bats he became the protector of Blüdhaven and leader of the Teen Titans.
Check out some more horrible Wayne deaths here:
Former Skins star Luke Pasqualino not only looks the part, but he displayed the physical ability needed to play a hero that resembles the smooth, charismatic, acrobatic Nightwing in 2013’s dystopian Snowpiercer, in which he played the character Grey. Similar was the case for his role as D'Artagnan in the short-lived BBC series The Musketeers.
So How Could Dick Grayson Fit?
Since the DCEU’s version of the Caped Crusader is old and vengeful, Dick Grayson being a few years removed from Robin makes perfect sense. Nightwing would not only make for a great cameo in The Batman — which is set to feature notable Teen Titans villain Deathstroke — but he’d be a great addition for the DCEU in a solo film. Dick has a long history, from his time in Young Justice and leading the Teen Titans, as well as his time with Spyral. Having a youthful appearance like Pasqualino would be a great start for Nightwing.
Another great choice to play Dick Grayson? Warcraft: The Beginning actor Ben Schnetzer.
Jason Todd: Dylan Minnette (Goosebumps)
Jason Todd is the second Robin, who took up the mantle of the Red Hood after the departure of Dick Grayson. Jason’s tragic backstory tells the tale of an orphan who grew up on the streets of Gotham. His father was a petty criminal and his mother a drug addict. We first meet Jason after he was caught attempting to steal the tires from the Batmobile. Another version of his origin has Jason stealing medicine from Leslie Thompkins, but I prefer the first version. Either way, Bruce tried to help Jason by placing him in one of his homes for the orphaned. It was in this institution that Jason was victimized and tortured, forcing Bruce to adopt the troubled teen in a bid to keep him safe. Unlike Dick, Jason had no problem pushing the limits with violence, giving Batman a lot more than he bargained for.
Nineteen-year-old Dylan Minnette has already shown on-screen versatility and promise as an actor. With a strong voice and striking good looks, he'd be perfect for the role of Jason Todd. He appeared in Prisoners alongside Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. In Goosebumps he had a starring role alongside Jack Black, proving to both critics and fans that he's already capable of being a leading man. And this summer he proved his worth yet again in the horror movie of the year, Don't Breathe.
So How Could Jason Todd Fit?
Jason Todd is the man that all the fuss is about, and deservedly so. After all, he connects Batman to his humanity, and his eventual comic book death severs that tie, leaving us with the murderous, hateful, vengeful Dark Knight that now exists in the DCEU. DC would be crazy not to use Minnette for this role. Who knows? Maybe we can see the two Robins work side by side in a movie that bases its premise around the time they had to rescue Alfred from Killer Croc. If you can hear me, Batfleck, let Jason Todd be the one Joker and Harley Quinn get axed. And another thing, Affleck — don't overthink this. No need to stray too far from the perfectly written source material, and please allow the character to comeback as Red Hood.
Tim Drake: Leo Howard (Kickin’ It)
Tim Drake is the fun-loving, bo-staff-wielding third Robin. His ambitious attitude and excellent detective skills earned him the title of Robin before calling it quits and taking up the name of Red Robin. Tim cracked the code that was Batman and Robin’s true identities. He figured out Dick was Robin after seeing him bust out a move he had previously seen him perform as part of the Flying Graysons. And knowing that Dick was Bruce Wayne’s son, he put two and two together. Following Jason Todd's death, with the help of Dick and Alfred he become the third Robin.
I commend Ryan Potter on his ability to sling a bo staff, but to me Leo Howard is the perfect fit for Tim Drake. He’s one actor I'd love to see in a big role in any comic cinema capacity, but especially in the DCEU as a Teen Titan (please feel free to check out my early casting work). Yes, he’s a Disney kid, but he's also had a couple of roles on the big screen. He’s played a young Conan in Conan the Barbarian and a young Snake Eyes in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. He’s an actor with promise. Check him out in Kickin’ It, then check out his martial arts skills below.
So How Could Tim Drake Fit?
Tim's addition to the DCEU will serve as one way to help get Batman’s humanity back. The character would bring some much-needed lightheartedness to the dark soul that is the Dark Knight. The quicker this Robin is inserted, the better for everyone in his path. It has to be done in the right way, with a movie of his own. With his exceptional detective skills and rambunctious attitude, he’d bring some balance to Bruce Wayne’s life. The best way to insert him would be to explore Bruce’s dark side and what got him there in The Batman.
Damian Wayne: Pierce Gagnon (Looper)
Unbeknownst to Bruce, he had a son with Talia al Ghul. Damian was nurtured in a lab, bred to be a merciless killing machine and heir to the League of Assassins. After 10 years, Talia dropped Damian into Bruce’s life. After Bruce accepted Damian, the merciless Talia put a bounty on her son's head. As Robin, Damian found it difficult not to kill, which went against his father’s code of ethics. Damian was a lot more brash and boisterous than his predecessors, outside of Jason. At one point the young Wayne took on the three Robins who came before him, just to prove that he was the greatest of them all. Did I mention he was confident?
I first noticed Pierce Gagnon when he played the adorable Logan Evans, the biological son of Clay and adopted son of Quinn on One Tree Hill. And Gagnon absolutely owned the screen in his breakout role as Cid in Looper. But it was his role as Tucker in Wish I Was Here that most lends itself to Damian. Gagnon was funny and he stole any scene he was in. It was a similar story when he co-starred with the Oscar-winning Halle Berry in the short-lived TV series Extant, in which he played her android son Ethan Woods. Damian is hardcore and I have no doubt he'll be able to bring all the right stuff as the latest Robin.
So How Could Damian Wayne Fit?
Damian could slot into the DCEU in the opposite way that Tim would. He’d bring a different element to Bruce’s life that would make for some unique father-son movie moments. Naturally, I have the perfect movie for the little Wayne, which happens to features the Court of Owls.
Honorable Mention: Stephanie Brown — Zoey Deutch
Stephanie Brown is the daughter of Cluemaster. In the comics, she’s inspired to become a hero for the sole purpose of spoiling her father’s plans. She gives herself the name Spoiler. Stephanie becomes the fifth Robin after her boyfriend Tim Drake steps down. She doesn’t last long and eventually becomes Batgirl, but she’s still fondly remembered as Spoiler.
Zoey Deutch starred alongside Blake Jenner and Tyler Hoechlin in the Richard Linklater comedy Everybody Wants Some!! You might also know her from Dirty Grandpa, in which she played Zac Efron’s love interest, and from Beautiful Creatures. While she stood out in each of her supporting roles, it’s her time in Vampire Academy that makes her perfect for this role within the DCEU. Stephanie may not fit as seamlessly as the others, but she'd work in her own unique way, even if for a brief period of time.
Since we won’t be getting a Batman solo movie anytime soon we’ll just have to settle for Gotham, which airs on Fox Mondays at 8.00 p.m.
Which Robin Would You Like to See in the DCEU
- 5 Actors That Could Play Nightwing, 5 That Could Play Red Hood, and 5 That Could Do Both
- 7 Ways the DC Films Can Use Robin
- 'Suicide Squad' Reveals Who Really Killed Robin, But Does It Cast Doubt On The Jason Todd Theory?
- Why Robin Needs To Return To The Big Screen In The DCEU