6 Musings on Robin in the DC Cinematic Universe
The second full trailer for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice was released at Comic-Con this past weekend, and my worst fears were realized: Robin is dead. We don’t know how and we don’t know who, but the sight of Robin’s costume covered in graffiti from the Joker confirms the rumors that the Boy Wonder is dead, buried and mourned in the DC Cinematic Universe.
Can we not have nice things?
But I’m not giving up hope, at least not completely. I love Robin too much to give in to sadness and grief. There are going to be a lot of movies in the future. There’s going to be a solo Batman movie directed by Ben Affleck in a few years. There will be sequels and spin-offs, and who knows what else.
So with my Blue Lantern ring clutched firmly in hand, I thought I’d ponder a little about what I’d like for Robin in the DC Cinematic Universe.
6. They have to have Robin
The Robin memorial in the Batman v. Superman trailer confirms at least one important fact: Robin did exist in the DCCU. That’s a big deal, honestly. Considering how adamant Christopher Nolan was against putting Robin in his Dark Knight trilogy (he relented a tiny bit), the fear was real that we’d never get a cinematic Robin ever again. But now we know the potential is there, and I hope the people in charge will find some way to put Robin in the movies going forward. Now that we’re dealing with an entire cinematic universe, and not just a single franchise, surely somebody will see the benefits that Robin brings to the table. The character has had a shelf life of at least 75 years for good reason. He brings a lot to the Batman franchise, and he’d be one way to really make the new Batman more like the comics. Just because one of them is dead doesn’t mean there can’t be more.
5. My ideal movie Robin: Dick Grayson
As much as I love Robin, I actually have very strict rules about using him in other media: there can only be one (or maybe two, with good reason). Tim Drake is my favorite Robin, and always will be, but what works in comics won’t automatically work in other media. Just because Batman has had multiple Robins in the comics doesn’t mean he should in the movies, or that movie-going audiences will understand. The concept of ‘Batman and Robin’ is ingrained in people’s heads. It’s a known concept. But ‘multiple Robins’ isn’t. And considering the limited release of movies or cartoons, is there really time to get into the backstory of multiple Robins? Especially when the movies are about Batman?
In a perfect world, there would only ever be Dick Grayson as Robin in the movies. Barring an X-Men-like mega-franchise, with the same storyline spanning more than a decade, there’s very little chance that we’d get enough Batman movies to feature multiple Robins. In a movie franchise, the focus has to be on Batman. That’s just how it works. And you can give him a Robin as a supporting character, but you can’t really get into the changing of the Robin Guard. There just isn’t enough time or, honestly, reason. Why include multiple Robins in a Batman movie franchise? One Robin, Dick Grayson, fills the character’s purpose and represents the role well.
There is no reason anymore for movies to follow comic book storylines. They can be used as guides, but these movies can and should stand on their own. In my perfect world, Dick Grayson would be as important and fun a supporting character in the Batman movies as he was in the Batman TV show. Nightwing is great and all, but in a limited movie franchise, Dick is better staying Robin.
4. My ideal DC Cinematic Universe Robin: Carrie Kelley
But this isn’t a perfect world, this is the regular world, and we already know that Robin is dead — and I’m pretty sure that’s Dick Grayson’s costume. I’ll speak on this more in a moment, but I think Dick is the dead Robin. If that’s the case, there’s really only one choice for a new Robin in the DCCU: Carrie Kelley. She’s the plucky young redhead who became Robin in The Dark Knight Returns, the comic that re-invented Batman in the 80s into the Dark Knight that we know and love today. In all honesty, writer Frank Miller wrote an absolute perfect Robin in The Dark Knight Returns. Carrie Kelley is young, smart and skilled, and she becomes Robin in a purely organic way that benefits the story. She helps Batman, she isn’t forced into the role, and he actually works with her. It’s great!
So if the first Robin is dead, I think the DCCU should introduce Carrie Kelley as the new Robin going forward. I realize that there are a ton of other choices, many of which are more popular. Like I said, Tim Drake is my favorite Robin. But again, movies have a limited quantity of time and space. If one Robin is dead, why would you waste these limited resources on a new Robin who is exactly like the old one? Why go with one of the other young, dark-haired boys who became Robin in the comics?
Choosing Carrie Kelley as the new Robin of the DCCU adds much-needed diversity to Batman’s world and the upcoming film slate. And Batman v. Superman is already modeled after The Dark Knight Returns, so why not follow that comic’s take on Robin as well? It would be perfect.
3. Give us a good costume, please
Carrie Kelley dresses like the original comic book Robin in The Dark Knight Returns, and that’s no good. The green short-shorts, the pixie boots and everything else just isn’t going to fly in this day and age. We can see that the first Robin’s costume is modern and awesome. It’s dark as hell, which has led some people to speculate that Robin was burned at some point? I don’t know, but whoever the new Robin is going to be in the DCCU, keep the costume modern and awesome. Pretty please?
2. I think they will combine Dick Grayson and Jason Todd
This is probably my most controversial idea: it looks to me like the DCCU is going to combine Dick Grayson with Jason Todd. As soon as that costume was spotted in the Batman v. Superman trailer, everybody online started jumping to the conclusion that it’s Jason Todd’s costume. Jason Todd is the second Robin in the comics, and he was killed by the Joker in the 1980s. And Jason Todd’s costume was a memorial in the Batcave for decades after his passing. So it makes sense from a fan perspective that we’re looking at Jason Todd’s costume in the trailer.
But I don’t think that’s the case at all. I think there’s only been one Robin, Dick Grayson, and he’s the dead one. We’ve already seen some pics from the set showing a ‘Richard Grayson’ tombstone. And, most importantly of all, it would just be easier if Dick Grayson was the dead Robin. As much as people want to see Nightwing in live action, it just doesn’t make any sense to go through with that. The general movie-going audience doesn’t know Nightwing, but they know Robin, and they can understand the simple concept of ‘Robin died and Batman is sad’. It’s almost poetic, and it’s a very emotional thing you can add to your Batfleck to give him some character depth.
But you can’t then turn around and clarify, “Oh no, we mean that the second Robin is dead. The first Robin is alive and well, and he’s fighting crime as a different superhero in Bludhaven. He and Batman are still pals.” It doesn’t work in the movies. It works fine in the comics, but not the movies.
This is only my opinion, of course, and maybe I’m wrong. But I just don’t see the DCCU going through the trouble of having both Dick Grayson and Jason Todd. There’s no need, and it could potentially be confusing for people who aren’t familiar with the comics.
Plus, this means Dick Grayson could become the Red Hood this time around!
1. If they just gave us Dark Knight Returns Robin, I would be so happy
Seriously, if Carrie Kelley shows up in Batman v. Superman, and they follow through on her origin in the solo Batman movie, I would be the happiest guy in the world. You have no idea. I can’t even. Just…just make it happen, DC, please? This new cinematic universe is going to define DC movies for probably the next decade, and I want Robin to be a part of it. Pretty please with sugar on top?
Posted on July 15, 2015, in Batman, DC, Lists of Six!, Movies, Robin and tagged Batman v. Superman, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Carrie Kelley, Dick Grayson, Jason Todd. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.