Hello interweb, Nate here. So I haven’t used this Comixplanations segment as much as I originally planned. Ah well. So anyhoo, we have heard from Warner Bros that Ben Affleck is not only playing Batman in the DCEU Batman movies but will also be directing it. Of course you can’t do an MCU-styled DC movie universe without making at least one Batman solo film. We know that Wonder Woman’s movie is in the works (I reviewed the first trailer) and Man of Steel 2 is currently in development (PLEASE make it better than the first movie) and on top of that Aquaman, Flash, Cyborg, and Green Lantern are all getting their solo movies. So with that there’s quite a bit of questions and speculations that we can make while waiting. However while a few of those characters I know very little about (like Aquaman), I do know most of the characters in the Justice League as well as their history and characters. And while any one of them can make a really good movie series given the right creative teams (barring Cyborg really since he honestly needs the Teen Titans to be the least bit interesting), Batman in particular has the potential for a greater movie series than even the beloved Dark Knight trilogy with so many villains and allies that have yet to be used fully in a previous Batman movie. But there’s one ally that I’m really curious on how they’re gonna go about with: Robin!
So let’s go through all of the Batman movies made up to the most recent one (barring animation): Batman: The Movie (1966), Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992), Batman Forever (1995), Batman & Robin (1997), Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), and finally Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). That’s nine Batman movies, and let’s go through all the ones featuring Robin: Batman: The Movie (1966), Batman Forever (1995), and Batman & Robin (1997). So here we have nine Batman movies and Robin has only been featured in a third of them. Now I actually haven’t seen any of these movies outside of the Dark Knight trilogy so I can only go by word of mouth on this but Batman & Robin is often seen as one of the worst superhero movies ever that even killed the genre for a while and Batman Forever isn’t nearly as bad but it’s still apparently rather bad. The last one he appeared in is Batman: The Movie which was part of the 60’s series staring Adam West as Batman so while it’s technically a Batman series and I realize that not only did that series help tremendously with making Batman popular today but also many people may hold some nostolgia to it, let’s face it it really isn’t the same type of Batman than the Batman a lot of us know today.
So why am I pointing this all out to you? Well it’s mainly that I’ve noticed just how unimportant Robin seems in the creation of a Batman movie when he has so much importance in the comics. I mean seriously, one of my absolute favorite movies is The Dark Knight and Robin doesn’t appear in there or the movie before and after it. It should be really odd for me to even be asking this question because the logical response should be “Of course!” as if I’m trying to make a Superman movie without Jimmy Olsen or a Wonder Woman movie without Steve Trevor. However there seems to be this attitude that Batman is such a dark and “realistic” character that having a kid sidekick would ruin the feel to it. Which makes me laugh because if the comics and animated movies can do it than why can’t the live action movies? Granted I realize that when adapting a comic book to live action changed need to be made in order for it to work but still. One of the reasons the MCU is so successful is that it faithfully adapts the comics to the movies with very little change. Yeah Bucky was Steve’s WWII ally rather than his young sidekick, but the relationship is still kept in tact and Bucky being brainwashed by Hydra is adapted wonderfully. Changes are allowed but the reason comic book readers want to see these things being changed to movies is because we want to be able to see out favorite characters done in a way that makes it feel real. So if we’re adapting Batman into a movie series that is going to be expanded into several movies within the same universe than this holds potential for amazing adaptations of the relationship between Batman and his family that just hasn’t been captured in live action yet.
The first Robin that we need to think about is honestly Dick Grasyon. Now he doesn’t necessarily need to be Robin in the present considering that they could go the route that he is now Nightwing. Honestly you might even have an advantage at doing Nightwing considering that you could treat him as a grittier Spider-man (kind of like the comics!), and since the DCEU has already established its gritty feel but has given us some humor in Suicide Squad, Nightwing would fit perfectly in that role. He has an acrobatic fighting style that’s differs from Spider-man due to the lack of powers and he has a more relaxed and witty personality. Knowing the DCEU, the thing that might not be captured well is the costume considering just how…um…skin tight it is, and they’re probably going to add some type of armor or durable feel to it like what they did to the Flash. However if they cast this guy right and get a good writer behind the wheel this character could get popular enough to spawn a spin off movie. Which is another strong point to Dick, he may be the only Robin that can actually hold a solo movie to himself with little to no aid from Batman. I mean that’s mainly why he became Nightwing in the first place, both in and out of comics.
Considering the amount of fangirls the MCU got over the tragedy of the Winter Soldier (don’t say you never noticed it before), Jason Todd might just get the DCEU the same popularity (and with the previously announced Harley Quinn solo movie this could get a lot of the female demographic). We’ve already seen Jason’s Robin suit with the Joker graffiti in the batcave in Batman V Superman and it has been confirmed that Jason is currently dead in this universe. So having Under the Red Hood be the very next story to be featured for the first Batman solo movie isn’t the most impossible. Now comparing how the DCEU might adapt Under the Red Hood to how the MCU adapted Captain America: The Winter Soldier, there will be a lot of changes from the original story but if you keep the gist of it and really show how tortured Jason is knowing Batman kept Joker alive after his death could get a lot of people sympathizing for the guy. Granted the DCEU Batman kills so having the whole “why didn’t you kill Joker” thing might be a little harder to do since this Batman would probably just shoot the tied up Joker while Jason’s yelling at him, but maybe they could just ignore Batman V Superman like how the MCU ignores the The Incredible Hulk and reestablish Batman’s no killing rule.
So if Dick is Nightwing and Jason is dead and may or may not come back a Red Hood, then that means that maybe this is time for Tim Drake to be the main Robin of this universe. I mean maybe he can even help Batman’s no killing rule to be reestablished? In the comics after Jason died, Batman become much more brutal than he normally was and it took for Tim to learn about Batman’s secret identity and come to him and basically go “Dude, you need to chill out and I’m here to help” before Batman went from brutally dark Batman to normally dark Batman (I’m saying “Batman” a lot in this post). So if the people behind these movies realize their mistake with a murdering Batman, throw Tim out there to make him realize the errors of his ways and boom: good ‘ol Batman’s back.
Now I really don’t know whether or not Damian would even work in a live action movie much less how they would do him. Maybe he could give the DCEU a cute factor as he’s really young but also really tough? I don’t know, I like Damian but he works well within the comics and the movies have really good writers working on them (for the most part). If they can pull Damian off than kudos for them but I’m having trouble seeing it. Especially since a lot of comic book readers even don’t seem to like the guy for some reason. I mean yeah he’s kind of a snot, but his relationship with Bruce is amazing and you can’t really blame his attitude towards everything when he was raised by the League of Assassins and is now living with Batman. I see him as more of a tragic character than an annoying one. Not quite as tragic as Jason but still.
The biggest reason for having any Robin in the DCEU is to give Batman another character to interact with and bounce off us. I mean having a younger character be used to show more of Batman’s softer side can show how much more Batman isn’t just some unbeatable mortal. Because I think that’s how a lot of people see him. A lot of people see him as being popular simply because he’s supposibly human and yet he can defeat pretty much anyone he wants. But the only thing “human” people see about him is the fact that he doesn’t have any super powers. Having a Robin within the Batman movies would show his human side in the sense of who he loves and what he’ll do for those he loves. The MCU may be popular for faithfully adapting our characters but it’s also popular for the heart it’s characters have. I mean one of the most popular relationships in the MCU is that between Steve and Bucky and that’s not even a romantic one (even though a lot of people wish it was 😉 ).
So what do you guys think? Should we have a Robin in the MCU or should Batman go solo for his solo movie? Vote below and if you do think Robin should appear in this universe, than which ones?