While the status of the various Robins in the DC Extended Universe is uncertain, it seems highly unlikely that a comics-accurate version of Batman's younger partners will be featured on the big screen any time soon. The existence of a Robin in that universe has been already confirmed, with Bruce Wayne briefly looking at a display case containing a graffiti-covered Robin costume in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and it was later implied in Suicide Squad that Harley Quinn was involved in Robin's death at the hands of The Joker, but no story has been provided outside those teases.
The recent controversy started when director Zack Snyder confirmed that it had been his intention for Dick Grayson - the first young man to become Robin in the comics - be the dead Robin. This contradicted earlier assumptions that the dead Robin was Jason Todd - the second Robin in the classic comics and the one who actually did die at the hands of The Joker in the Batman storyline A Death In The Family. Some fans were incensed that Snyder would go against the established continuity of the comics, while others were upset that the studio was apparently contradicting Snyder's original vision, which may have included a teenage girl, Carrie Kelley, becoming the next Robin like in Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns comic.
With Snyder out at Warner Brothers, DC Entertainment seems to be changing strategies, so it is unclear just what future awaits the Robin name. There's nothing to stop Dick Grayson from showing up in a future film since he was never officially confirmed as being dead in any of Zack Snyder's movies. Even if that were the case, his version of Robin could easily be in Matt Reeves' Batman movie, assuming it's in the DCEU, because that takes place when Batman is younger.
The larger problem filmmakers face is that there is a great deal of brand confusion when it comes to the Robin name. With the whole of DC Comics' multiverse opened up, the problems of a movie utilizing Robin increase exponentially. Even ignoring the existence of multiple Robins, there's still a number of problems involving the complex backstories from the original comic books and the practical problems that come of basing an action movie around an underage protagonist.
- This Page: There's Too Many Robins
- Page 2: Multiple Robins Doesn't Easily Adapt to Film
There's Too Many Robins
One of the few complaints about the Batman comic book following the New 52 reboot of the DC Comics multiverse in 2011 was how the new reality handled the various Robins. Originally, Bruce Wayne had trained five Robins (including the first canon girl Robin, Stephanie Brown), three Batgirls and a hand-full of other vigilantes over the better part of two decades. The new reality condensed most of this backstory into five years, so now there were only four Robins (all boys) and one Batgirl in a bid to try and satisfy all of the Robin fans who didn't want to see their favorite version of Robin sent into comic book limbo.
Given that variety and the loyal fan base surrounding each incarnation of Robin, the biggest problem a filmmaker adapting the Batman mythos faces regarding Robin is which version of the young hero they should bring to life - DC Rebirth currently features four young men who have used the name of Robin while training under Bruce Wayne.
The first Robin, Dick Grayson, is certainly the one most familiar to the general public. Trained as an acrobat from birth, he was taken in by Bruce Wayne following his parents' murder by extortionist Tony "Boss" Zucco, who had targeted the circus that was the only home Dick Grayson had ever known. To date, Grayson is the only Robin to be portrayed in live-action, having been the Robin of the 1966 Batman television series and the Joel Schumacher Batman movies. He's also the Robin most frequently found in animated adaptations, including Batman: The Animated Series and The LEGO Batman Movie.
The second Robin, Jason Todd, also an orphan, first encountered Batman as he tried to steal the hubcaps off of the Batmobile. After Todd saved his life and Batman determined that he was living in an unsafe home, Bruce Wayne adopted Todd and began training him as a new Robin, thinking that he could give the boy an outlet for his anger. Todd became a more violent and rebellious Robin than Dick Grayson and (following his death and resurrection) grew into the murderous vigilante called The Red Hood.
The third Robin, Tim Drake, was Bruce Wayne's neighbor and now uses the codename Red Robin. A child genius, Drake was able to deduce the secret identities of Dick Grayson and Bruce Wayne based upon his witnessing Robin performing an acrobatic feat that had only been accomplished once before by a young Dick Grayson. As Batman became more violent following the death of Jason Todd, Drake approached Bruce Wayne and proposed that he needed a Robin to provide a balance to his darker impulses. Wayne was reluctant at first, but agreed to take Drake on as a new Robin after Drake captured the villain Two-Face.
The fourth Robin, Damian Wayne, was the biological child of Bruce Wayne and Talia Al Ghul, daughter of the criminal mastermind Ra's Al Ghul. Originally the product of a short-lived love affair between Bruce and Talia (as seen in the graphic novel Batman: Son of the Demon), a retcon saw Damian changed into a test-tube baby and the end product of a League of Assassins experiment to breed the perfect warrior using his parents' DNA. Damian was sent to his father in a bid to disrupt his work. To the surprise of everyone, including perhaps Damian himself, he adopted his father's morality and the training of the League of Assassins to become the most potentially dangerous Robin yet.
Page 2 of 2: Multiple Robins Doesn't Easily Adapt to Film
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