The Darkest Easter Egg Everyone Missed In The DC Movie Universe

As far as cinematic superhero universes go, the DC Extended Universe gets a lot of flak. With only eight films released to date, the DCEU has had a tougher go than its competitor, the Marvel Cinematic Universe. One reason for this is the dark and gritty approach it takes to the source material — a decision many fans aren't quite on board with. At the end of the day, though, going a little grim is an understandable strategy in setting the movies apart from the more fun and light-hearted tone of the MCU.

The DCEU is in a sticky situation. There are all sorts of problems with the canon, resulting in retcons and revisions that make its themes and narratives sometimes feel sloppy. Some actors are all in, while others have opted to step away from the capes and spandex. It's clear that there were big plans for the shared universe that haven't always come to fruition, as evidenced by various Easter eggs teasing some of DC's most iconic characters, teams, and stories.

In most cases, Easter eggs exist solely to wink at the audience, included in the background for fun without any real weight in the story. In the case of the DCEU, though, some of these little details mean so much more and can serve to enrich the world. They can tease who or what is to come — or already came and went. There's one in particular that not only fleshes out a character's arc but also suggests a very gruesome event that took place off-screen.

Batman v Superman reveals the death of Dick Grayson

The darkest Easter egg the DCEU has to offer — found in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice — is not very subtle. The camera lingers on it for some time before moving on to the story at hand. Before his confrontation with Superman (Henry Cavill), Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) takes a moment to reflect on his past shortcomings. As he wanders the Batcave, he stops on a glass case containing a roughed-up costume. The severely worn body armor, mask, and staff are on display with the words "HAHAHA, joke's on you, BATMAN" spray painted across the torso.

As director Zack Snyder revealed via Vero, the Robin in question was Dick Grayson. There is a clear implication that the Joker is the one responsible for his death in the DCEU — an event never seen on screen. In typical Zack Snyder fashion, he put a new spin on a classic comic storyline: 1988's A Death in the Family by writer Jim Starlin and artist Jim Aparo. In that story, however, it is the second Robin, Jason Todd, who succumbs to the Joker's violence. He is beaten mercilessly with a crowbar before being left to die in an explosion rigged by the Clown Prince of Crime. It is currently unknown if Grayson suffered a similar beatdown in the movie universe.

Dick Grayson's demise rationalizes Batman's sadistic nature in the DCEU

Beyond the obvious hint toward Robin's inhumane death, there are darker connotations to this Easter egg. As Snyder established from the start, the DCEU rendition of Batman is quite different from the Dark Knight fans have come to expect. He is hardened, experienced, and he isn't afraid to take lives — especially of those who stick their nose in his business. This version of Batman has lost his way — going against his usual iron-clad rule of preventing death at any cost.

Losing Dick Grayson broke him — if their relationship carried over at all from the comics, the first Robin was like a son to Wayne. In the years following the tragedy, he abandoned his moral code and opted for a more vengeful approach to vigilantism. He breaks bones, shoots his opponents, and brands those lucky enough to survive their encounter. His methods are integral to his conflict with Superman in the first place. So far, the DCEU has only shown a vandalized Robin suit, but the dark symbolism and story attached to it are unrivaled by any other Easter egg in the franchise.