With Matt Reeves’Â The Batman movie building up steam, itâ€™s about time Robin was brought back into the DC Extended Universe. The Boy Wonder has been missing in live-action since his last fateful outing withÂ BatmanÂ & Robin, and wasn’t seen as a viable character forÂ Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight saga.
The DCEU is experiencing a period of flux. With new management coming in, familiar names dropping out and more eclectic projects taking center stage, the franchise may finally be finding its feet after a tough couple of years. The planned Batman solo film, The Batman,Â to be directed by Matt Reeves of War for the Planet of the Apes, is in pre-production and gossip is swirling about the place it will take in the series.
Very little is known about the film, but it presents immense opportunities for DC, the main one being the chance to bring one of Gothamâ€™s most beloved characters back to the big screen. Itâ€™s about time Robin got the movie treatmentÂ he deserves.
While itâ€™s debatable as to how much of a loner Bruce actually is in the grand scheme of Batman stories, the common audience consensus is that Batman works alone. This offers striking cinematic storytelling opportunities as well as an undisputed leading man at the front and center, and is the pattern the DC movies have taken for the vast majority of their run. The exception is, of course, Joel Schumacherâ€™s entries into the canon: Batman Forever and Batman and Robin. History has not been kind to this duology, with the latter entry widely considered the original nail in the coffin of the franchise. Since then, Bruce Wayne has flown solo, with mentions of Robin being left as backstory or unproduced future installments, like the reveal of Joseph Gordon-Levittâ€™s character, littleÂ more than an Easter egg, in The Dark Knight Rises.
Whether itâ€™s due to the weak performance of Chris Oâ€™Donnell in the Schumacher films or the bratty petulance of the character in those stories, Batman on the big-screen has remained Robin-free for over two decades now. The various animated series have included several iterations of the character, but for general audiences who experience Gotham only through the films, itâ€™s clear that a large part of that universeâ€™s mythos has been excluded from the narrative. At best, itâ€™s a missed opportunity, and at worst, itâ€™s unfair to the history of DC Comics.
At its best, the Batman and Robin dynamic is the comic book worldâ€™s best father-son story. This is something most of the films have completely shied away from exploring, possibly to keep Batmanâ€™s loner status intact. Even the Schumacher films downplayed this element by having a much older actor in the part. Leaving this element of Bruceâ€™s life out of the cinematic canon does a major disservice to the character, as well as starving audiences of one of Gothamâ€™s best heroes.
Reports have indicated that Matt Reevesâ€™ solo Batman film, currently titled The Batman, will center on a younger Bruce Wayne. Itâ€™s not clear whether this will be a prequel to BatmanÂ v Superman: Dawn of Justice or a completely different narrative outside of the DCEU. With rumors of Ben Affleckâ€™s dissatisfaction with the franchise and his desire to leave the role still swirling around Hollywood, gossip has increased on the possibility of this film being the jumping-off point for Bruce to pass down the mantle to a new Batman. Whatever the case, this would be a perfect opportunity to introduce Robin.
This could be done in several ways but there are two clear routes: have a younger Batman as a DCEU prequel that shows Robinâ€™s origins (and maybe his untimely death if this is in the DCEU); or introduce Robin and have him take up the mantle from a retiring Bruce. Both options would be in line with the vast array of Robin stories featured in the comics, from the death of Jason Todd to the evolution of Dick Grayson into Nightwing. Bringing Robin into the fold would also open the field for DC and Warner Bros. to introduce the rest of the Bat-clan. A Batgirl movie and NightwingÂ movie are already in the works, but thereâ€™s plenty of room for characters like Batwoman too.
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