For the most part, the DC Extended Universe isn’t relying too heavily on origin stories, instead introducing viewers to heroes who have already been active for years prior to their initial big screen appearance. One noteworthy example of that is the fact that the Aquaman and Flash solo movies will take place after the first Justice League film. Of course, this approach started with Ben Affleck portraying a grizzled and world-weary Batman in Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, in which Bruce Wayne has been fighting crime for two decades.
Giving each character a history as opposed to making them fresh-faced is an interesting angle that can pave the way for a variety of stories to be told. It’s evident that Batman has been through a lot, as the costume of a fallen Robin is featured prominently in his Batcave. With the taunt “Ha, ha, ha. Joke’s on you Batman” spray painted on, those familiar with the comics had an idea of what happened. As it turns out, those theories were correct, as Warner Bros. has now come out and confirmed that it was Jason Todd who was presumably murdered by the Joker.
A video (watch it below) was posted on the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood Facebook page, and part of the exhibit highlighted actual props and costumes used during the making of Batman V Superman. Early on in the tour, the guide points out “one of the big things from the film” and mentions Jason Todd’s Robin suit. It’s hardly the most shocking revelation about the movie, but it’s nice to know WB is playing in line with the source material.
For those not in the know, Jason Todd was the second person to take the mantle of Robin, following Dick Grayson. Todd died at the hands of the Joker in the famous story arc “A Death in the Family,” which obviously had a profound impact on Wayne, who struggled with guilt over not being able to protect his companion. Todd was later brought back to life as the violent antihero Red Hood and eventually crosses paths with Batman again.
Knowing that the Robin hinted at in Dawn of Justice is Todd, it lends further credence to the longstanding rumors that Affleck’s standalone Batman vehicle will look to the “Under the Red Hood” storyline for inspiration. Though there are similarities between that and Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it certainly has potential for a compelling, emotional narrative that sheds more light on Affleck’s well-received take on Bruce Wayne. Should the filmmakers go this route, they’d also be able to incorporate Jared Leto’s version of the Joker, who is poised to be one of the breakout characters of this summer’s Suicide Squad. In addition, “Under the Red Hood” is one of the more grounded Batman stories (murder mystery/investigation), meaning it could be a good fit for Affleck’s sensibilities as a director.
At the same token, the Red Hood angle is just one piece of speculation currently available about the film. Recently, it was said that Affleck and co-writer Geoff Johns would include several villains in the movie as an attempt to craft a massive universe for the character (some perhaps being cameos). There’s no telling what they have in store right now, so many will be watching the project’s development with great interest. Regardless of what happens, WB can rest easy knowing that the Gotham City portion of the DCEU has generated excitement amongst audiences, who can’t wait to see the likes of Affleck, Jeremy Irons, J.K. Simmons, and others on the big screen.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is now playing in U.S. theaters. Suicide Squad will arrive on August 5, 2016, followed by Wonder Woman on June 2, 2017; Justice League Part One on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 16, 2018; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League Part Two on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020.