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Should Robin Even Be In Batman V Superman?

Eagle-eyed viewers of the Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer quickly noticed Ben Affleck's Bruce Wayne pausing to look at a glass-cased costume that, upon closer inspection, turned out to be a Robin outfit with the words, "HAHAHA JOKES ON YOU BATMAN" spray-painted across the chest. For comic fans, this is a huge moment that references an iconic chapter of the Batman mythos. For everyone else, it's at best just another clip in the trailer they didn't even notice, and at worst, a source of confusion...because what kind of Batman movie has a dead Robin in it? To answer that question, and many others, let us take you on a guided tour of the history of all the Robins, past, present, and perished.

So What's Up With The Dead Robin?

It's safe to say everyone is at least aware of the idea of Batman and Robin: guy dressed up like a bat fights crime with a little kid in green shorts. Well, that first Robin is Dick Grayson, who in the comics eventually grows up and starts working solo as Nightwing. So for the sake of simplicity, think of him as the first successful graduate of Batman School. After Dick Grayson, there was Jason Todd, who became the second Robin, though his time in Batman School didn't go so well. In fact, it mostly ended with him being beaten with a crowbar by the Joker and then exploded to death before Batman could save him. That explains why Ben Affleck is looking mournfully at a spray-painted costume in the Batman V Superman trailer. It's a crucial moment in Batman's career that almost defines the character as much as the death of Bruce Wayne's parents. That's how huge it is in the comics world.

Why Is Any Of This In A Movie About Batman And Superman Becoming BFFs?

Good question. First, director Zack Snyder seems to be drawing heavily from Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns comics, which take place late in Batman's career after Jason's death. Based on what we've seen in the trailer, it's a failure that still haunts Batfleck, and eventually drives him into retirement before he eventually returns. Second, Warner Bros. wants as many spin-off opportunities as possible to compete with Marvel, and just establishing that Jason Todd's death occurred in the DC Cinematic Universe opens the door for movie versions of Nightwing, at least two more Robins, and a Jason's new, post-death identity as the Red Hood (more on that in a bit).

Wait, Did You Say Two More Robins?

Yeah... so after letting one Robin get blown up by the Joker, you'd figure Batman would hit the brakes on pinning yellow capes on adolescent boys and throwing them at bad guys. Instead, he gets a third Robin in the comics—a kid named Tim Drake, who eventually takes the name Red Robin. That's when Tim is replaced by a fourth Robin, Damian Wayne, who also happens to be Batman's son. With all that comic book baggage, those two Robins could easily pop up in Batman V Superman. On top of that, Zack Snyder could stay the course on adapting The Dark Knight Returns and drop another Robin on audiences. And this one's a girl!

There's A Girl Robin Now?!

In The Dark Knight Returns, apparently one of the main blueprints for Batman V Superman, all the other Robins are either old or dead, which sets the stage for female newcomer Carrie Kelley to don the green tights—because Batman's finally become equal opportunity in his old age. In fairness, Carrie is a badass, and seeing her make her theatrical debut as the current Robin would be a breath of fresh air for the Batman franchise. It'd also open the opportunity for her to interact with the previous Robins, which is something that's rarely happened in the comics if at all.

So What's That Stuff About Dead Robin Being Someone Else Now?

One of the most ridiculous things about comic books is that almost nobody stays dead, and Jason Todd is no exception. In a series of events that involved an alternate Superboy punching a hole in reality (it truly is as stupid as it sounds), Jason Todd came back from the dead and assumed the Joker's original criminal persona, the Red Hood, before going on a gun-toting warpath through Gotham City. He eventually calms down—after trying to kill all the other Robins. It was no biggie, as he soon starts working with Batman again. As for what any of this has to do with Batman V Superman, it's been heavily rumored that Red Hood will make an appearance in Suicide Squad and presumably have some sort of confrontation with Jared Leto's Joker, who we suspect is responsible for the spray-painted Robin costume that started this whole mess.

This All Seems Crazy For A Movie That's Supposed To Set Up The Justice League

It is! Not only does Batman V Superman set the stage for the Justice League, and the entirely separate set of heroes that entails, but it's also a crash course on decades-worth of Batman continuity, which is a lot for one movie to carry. Understandably, DC Comics is trying to catch up with Marvel, and the prospect of seeing an ambitious Batman universe in theaters is crazy exciting to comic book fans. But there's only so much you can throw at average theatergoers before they're totally lost. Not to mention, Batman's next two movies are the Justice League installments where there isn't much room for the multitude of Robins that might not even be seen again until Ben Affleck's solo Batman movie. And that's a long time for audiences to remember which Robin is who and why one of them uses guns now.

So Which Robin Should Even Be In The Movie?

If Zack Snyder doesn't want to overwhelm audiences, Batman V Superman should have a Nightwing cameo and Carrie Kelley running around at most. And she may be portrayed by actress Jena Malone, whose role has yet to be confirmed as of this writing. Anything more than that, and you're going to confuse the hell out of people. Let them know there was a first Robin, the second one died(-ish), and Batman's in the market for another one because the dude loves throwing kids at bad guys. We all have our hobbies.