Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Unfilmed Robin Scene For 1989's Batman Is Franchise-Altering

While the campy, not-so-cohesive era Batman wouldn't see anyone don the domino mask until 1995 when Chris O'Donnell took the mantle of Robin in "Batman Forever," there was a conscious effort for him to show up a lot sooner. In one of screenwriter Sam Hamm's original drafts for the 1989 "Batman," Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton soon to be reprising his role in "The Flash") takes Robin under his wing after he becomes an orphan, as his origin story dictates. The difference here is that Hamm veered away slightly from The Flying Grayson's comic book demise and headed into territory that feels more fitting for the "Final Destination" franchise.

In the comics, the "Flying Graysons," John and Mary, are killed by gangster Tony Zucco, who lines trapeze wires with acid during one of their displays, causing the whole thing to snap. In Hamm's take, the Graysons met a far more horrific demise thanks to the Batman and Joker's battle through Gotham that leads to a helicopter accident, electrocution, and the boy that would go onto Bat's sidekick being knocked out by the Caped Crusader himself.

The Grayson's met a grisly end in the original script thanks to The Joker

Besides Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson) being revealed as Thomas and Martha Wayne's killer in the film's finale, plans were originally in place to have him make Dick Grayson an orphan in "Batman" too — just in a far more graphic way. In one of Hamm's drafts (via DailyScript), Batman is on horseback chasing down The Clown Prince of Crime, who drives through Gotham Park where the Flying Graysons are performing a stunt involving helicopters. Shooting at a firework display, the explosion sets off a chain reaction, downing one of the copters that sends John falling to his death and Mary swinging into a power line before hitting the ground as well.

Naturally, as is the case for young vigilantes, the whole thing is seen by Dick, who is at one point even taken hostage by The Joker amidst the chaos. Thankfully, Batman gets a handle on the situation, but not before putting Dick to sleep and leaving him to wake up at Wayne Manor. It was here that plans were made for the young gymnast to begin his journey as the legendary sidekick, but this never came to pass. So why did we never see Keaton's Dark Knight get an ally to stalk Gotham's rooftops early on, and why did it lead to the version we ended up with? It turns out it was much less expensive for the summer blockbuster-in-the-making to have Robin's wings clipped altogether.

Robin was too expensive for the 1989 Batman

Speaking to 13thDimension, Sam Hamm shared his thoughts on the battle for Robin's inclusion in his script and how it was demanded he and Tim Burton bring the dynamic duo to the big screen. Deemed by the pair as "an unnecessary intrusion" to the story they wanted to tell, Hamm argued that "our hero was crazy, to begin with. Did he have to prove it by enlisting a pimply adolescent to help him fight crime?" Nevertheless, the studio called the shots, and after a stressful writing session, Robin was eventually written into the story by way of the aforementioned explosive set-piece that sent Dick through the motions of discovering who his savior was and where he'd end up. That was until the studio's plan changed when production finally got going.

"When the film went into production in London, and ran seriously over budget, WB started looking for a sequence that could be cut to save money," explained Hamm. "And there was one obvious candidate: Intro Robin!" The arrival of Batman's legendary sidekick was put to the side but still had certain elements saved for future installments, which is what we got in 1997 when Val Kilmer donned the pointy ears opposite O'Donnell's Robin. "So Robin was cut from the movie and shoved back to 'Batman Returns'— from which he was cut yet again and shoved back to 'Batman Forever.'" Did Hamm have the right idea from the beginning? Boy, we can only wonder.