Robin in other media

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Adaptations of Robin in other media
Created by Bob Kane
Jerry Robinson
Bill Finger
Original source Comics published by DC Comics
First appearance Detective Comics #38 (April 1940)
Films and television
Film(s)
Television
show(s)
Audio presentations
Radio show(s) The Adventures of Superman (1945)

In addition to comic books, the superhero Robin also appears in other media, such as films, television and radio. Dick Grayson, the first Robin, is generally the version of Robin chosen to be portrayed.

For decades, Robin rarely appeared without Batman. The only exceptions have been animated stories featuring Robin as a member of the Teen Titans. Furthermore, from the 1940s to 1980s, Grayson was generally portrayed as being a teenager or adult.

Radio[edit]

The Batman Mystery Club[edit]

Batman's radio series with Robin, The Batman Mystery Club, in which Batman told ghost stories, never aired. One episode was made: "The Monster of Dumphrey's Hall".[citation needed]

Adventures of Superman[edit]

During radio broadcasts of The Adventures of Superman radio drama Batman and Robin were paired with Superman over the years from September 15, 1945 to 1949. The pairing was pure novelty. The Batman and Robin appearances provided time off for Bud Collyer, the voice of Superman on radio. These episodes called for Superman to be occupied elsewhere and the crime fighting would be handled by Batman and Robin. On that series the voice of Robin was played by Ronald Liss.

Film[edit]

Serials[edit]

Batman[edit]

In director Lambert Hillyer's 1943 film serial Batman, Robin was played by Douglas Croft. Croft was the only actor to portray Robin at the actual age of fourteen/fifteen; subsequent live-action actors have either been in their early to late 20's.[citation needed]

Batman and Robin[edit]

Robin was played by 26 year old Johnny Duncan in Columbia Pictures' Batman and Robin (1949), directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet.[citation needed]

Full length feature film[edit]

Burton-Schumacher series[edit]

Early concepts[edit]
Chris O'Donnell reprising his role of Robin in Batman & Robin.

Robin did not appear in the Tim Burton movies Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992). This was an unusual move as the two 1940s serials as well as the 1966 movie and attendant TV show had presented the 'Dynamic Duo' as an inseparable pair, with the general public unaware that the comic-book incarnation of Batman often worked alone. The special edition version of the Batman (1989) DVD features an animated storyboard sequence of when Robins parents are killed by the Joker. Jason Hillhouse provides the voice of Dick Grayson, while Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprise their respective roles (from the DC animated universe) as Batman and the Joker in the storyboard sequence. Burton planned to cast Northern Irish actor Ricky Addison Reed as Robin, but later felt it was unimportant to the story and cut Robin out altogether. In an earlier script of Batman Returns, he was portrayed as a technologically savvy street kid who would help Batman following his narrow escape when The Penguin tried to kill him. He would later play a crucial role in Batman's final confrontation with The Penguin. In that script, he was simply called Robin, has no known real name, and was to be played by Marlon Wayans.[1]

Batman Forever[edit]

Wayans was considered for the role of Robin in Batman Forever, but the change in directors from Burton to Joel Schumacher would also mean a change in the choice of actor for the role of Robin. [2] Chris O'Donnell played the character of Dick Grayson in the film, alongside Val Kilmer in the role of Batman. Dick Grayson's parents and older brother were murdered by Two-Face during a hostage situation at the annual Gotham Circus after the family helps get rid of a bomb rigged to explode. Bruce Wayne takes him in as his ward out of guilt for being unable to save Dick's family. Dick soon finds out that Bruce is Batman and becomes a costumed hero in his late teens. His costume closely resembles the Robin uniform worn by Tim Drake. However, Grayson's classic costume appears as Robin's circus uniform, sans the "R" symbol and face mask[citation needed].

Batman & Robin[edit]

O'Donnell reprised the role in the 1997 film Batman & Robin, this time opposite George Clooney as Batman. Tension between Batman and Robin is present in the film due to Robin growing tired of playing second fiddle to Batman and desiring to break free from Batman's shadow, particularly after Robin's recklessness leads to him getting frozen by Mr. Freeze. These feelings are later amplified when Poison Ivy exposes Robin to her phermone dust and causes him to fall in love with her, sowing seeds of doubt regarding Batman's faith in his ward. In the film's climax, Robin eventually sees through Ivy's schemes and makes amends with Batman, and throughout the film, it is hinted that he harbours romantic feelings towards Alfred's niece, Barbara Wilson, who later becomes Batgirl.

In this film, Robin's costume resembles Dick Grayson's third "Nightwing" costume, but with rubber nipples, a utility belt, a cape and red/crimson coloring instead of blue, and later silver in the final battle with Mr. Freeze.

Robin spinoff[edit]

Chris O'Donnell revealed to Access Hollywood that a Robin spin-off was planned but got scrapped after Batman & Robin. [3]

Nolan series[edit]

In a June 2005 interview, Christopher Nolan, the director of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, said that as long as he was directing the franchise, Robin would not be appearing. Since Christian Bale was portraying Batman as a young man at the time of "Year One", Dick Grayson was still a child at that point.[4] Bale has also given the same opinion regarding Robin, even though his favorite Batman story, Batman: Dark Victory, focuses on Robin's origin.[5]

The Dark Knight Rises[edit]

In the film The Dark Knight Rises, Batman finds an ally in a young policeman who goes by the name of John Blake (portrayed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt), an original character created exclusively for the film.

Blake's an orphan whose mother was killed in a car crash and whose father was murdered in a gambling related dispute when Blake was still a child. He was raised in St. Swithin's, an orphanage sponsored by the Wayne Foundation. During his time there, he learned to hide his anger over his parents' death. When Bruce Wayne visited the orphanage, Blake noticed similar qualities between himself and Bruce, and single-handedly deduced that Bruce was Batman. When he was old enough, he became a police officer.

After the discovery of Bane, Blake confronts Bruce and attempts to convince him to return as Batman. When Bane publicly declares himself, Blake takes Commissioner Gordon into hiding and arrests Selina Kyle to question her about Bruce's disappearance. He also shows his repulsion towards Gordon and Batman covering up the crimes of Harvey Dent. Blake joins Gordon and the other cops in a revolt against Bane's rule, but is caught and nearly executed. He's rescued by Batman, who tells him to evacuate the city. This attempt fails when external officers blow up the only bridge leading away from Gotham out of fear, since Bane had threatened earlier to have the bomb detonated (by a random citizen, later revealed to be Talia al Ghul, masquerading as Miranda Tate) if anyone tried to leave Gotham.

After Batman apparently sacrifices himself to save the city, Blake quits the GCPD, disgusted that the mainland police were willing to let Gotham perish. He attends Bruce's funeral with Gordon, Alfred Pennyworth and Lucius Fox. He later attends the reading of Bruce's will, and is pleasantly surprised to discover that Wayne Manor will become a home for the city's at-risk orphans, named in honor of Thomas and Martha Wayne. When he gives the name "Blake, John" to a clerk holding a package that Bruce had left him, he is told there is nothing there for him. He hands over an ID and suggests they try his legal name, which is revealed to be Robin. The clerk gives him GPS coordinates and spelunking gear, before she tells him that he should use the name "Robin" more often. At the end of the film, Blake follows the coordinates, and finds the Batcave.

Gordon-Levitt has stated that the ending of The Dark Knight Rises is not a set up for a spin-off film, but is the true conclusion of Christopher Nolan's Batman series.[6]

Live-action television[edit]

Batman[edit]

In the 1960s Batman television series and its 1966 movie offshoot, Robin (Dick Grayson) was played by Burt Ward. This version of Robin was known for the catch phrase: "Holy [relevant pun], Batman."

The Graysons[edit]

On October 1, 2008, it was announced that The CW network was preparing a new live-action pilot called The Graysons which would follow the life of a pre-Batman Dick Grayson.[7] Plans for the pilot were subsequently canceled.[8]

Animation[edit]

Super Friends[edit]

In DC Comics related cartoon series, produced by Filmation and Hanna-Barbera throughout the 1970s and 1980s, such as the Super Friends, Robin (Dick Grayson) was voiced by Casey Kasem or Burt Ward. Both the live-action and animated versions wore the standard Robin costume, much like the film serial versions of the 1940s. He is not paired with Batman in the Cartoon Network programs Justice League and Justice League Unlimited due to Batman's romantic relationship with Wonder Woman.

DC animated universe[edit]

Dick Grayson as Robin in Batman: The Animated Series.
Tim Drake as Robin in The New Batman Adventures.

Dick Grayson made his first appearance during the first season of Batman: The Animated Series (1992–1995). In production order of the series, Robin's first episode appearance was in "Christmas with the Joker," but in Fox Kids' original broadcast order he first appeared in "Fear of Victory." He was voiced by Loren Lester in the series, while the ten-years old version of the character was by Joey Simmrin in the two-part episode "Robin's Reckoning," and only made occasional appearances due to Bruce Timm's insistence that Batman worked best as a solo hero as already proven in the first two Burton films. The second season of The Animated Series was known as The Adventures of Batman and Robin, as per orders of the Warner Bros. executives who wished for more frequent appearances of Robin to be made throughout the season.

In The New Batman Adventures (1997–1999), Grayson becomes Nightwing, and his place as Robin was taken by Tim Drake, voiced by Mathew Valencia. The animated series continuity does not include Jason Todd by name, but the cartoons describe Drake as a combination of all three Robins. Versions of the Carrie Kelley (Anndi McAfee) and 1950s (Brianne Siddall) Robins, both in the original costume, also make short appearances on the show in a dream sequence from the episode "Legends of the Dark Knight".

Valencia is later replaced by Eli Marienthal on a Static Shock crossover episode "The Big Leagues" and Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman. Shane Sweet replaced Marienthal on another Static Shock crossover on episode "Future Shock".

Teen Titans[edit]

Robin as seen in Teen Titans.

The Cartoon Network series Teen Titans appears to be an adaptation of the New Teen Titans comic book series. One similarity is that both series have the character Robin, who also acts as the team's leader. Robin joins Beast Boy, Cyborg and Raven when Jump City is threatened first by Starfire and then by the aliens who had captured her (episode "Go!"). Robin is generally respected by the others as the team's best leader, but on the inside he is driven by an unhealthy obsession to win, which sometimes alienates him from his teammates ("Divide And Conquer", "Masks", "Winner Take All", "The Quest").

In the comic book series (as noted above), Dick Grayson is Robin. In the animated series, the style of his costume is still closely modeled on Tim Drake's, as in the 1990s; however, the colors are those of Dick Grayson and Jason Todd. Robin, voiced by Scott Menville, has not been directly referred to by any full name. This non-identity is intentional, according to both Sam Register and Glen Murakami. However, several clues (and confirmation of his identity in Teen Titans Go #47) have indicated that this Robin is Dick Grayson.

A time-travel themed episode of the animated series showed a future where Robin has taken on the role of Nightwing (a role taken up by Dick Grayson). In a later episode, an alternate universe Robin with exactly the same DNA shows up named "Nosyarg Kcid", which is "Dick Grayson" spelled backwards. This latter clue was confirmed by the creators at a panel at the 2005 San Diego Comic Con.[9]

In many instances, Robin's relationship to Batman is heavily referenced. In the Season 5 episode "Go", just before Robin attacks a thief, bats fly at him. After a while the thief says, "Aren't you supposed to be with..." only to be interrupted by Robin who says, "Just moved here. I work alone now", and throughout the episode, he says he doesn't want to be in a team again so soon. In another episode, "Haunted", Raven uses her powers to enter Robin's mind; one of the images she sees is Robin's shadow in a cave area swearing an oath to someone, and part of a circus ring. When Robin rejects Slade in "Apprentice: Part 2", he mentions "I already have a father", and then the screen shows a shot of a dark sky with bats flying through it, also referring to Batman. In that same episode, a battle ensues on top of a building that says "WAYNE ENTERPRISES". In episode 41 (episode 2 of season 4) Robin says that he was trained by the best and this is believed to be a reference to the Batman.

Robin also has romantic feelings for Starfire since they first met. There have been romantic moments shared between the two in the series but neither Robin nor Starfire admitted their feelings for each other until the movie Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo. During the film Robin and Starfire had been very close to admitting their feelings and having their first true romantic kiss but sadly Robin was too focused on the mission to tell Starfire and they were both interrupted by Beast Boy and the others but finally after a massive battle Robin and Starfire finally admitted their feelings for each other and they finally shared their first true romantic kiss with Cyborg saying "Well it's about time!". In the end they are both seen holding hands and finally become a romantic couple.

The Batman[edit]

The Batman with Robin as he appears in The Batman.

In The Batman, Robin is voiced by Evan Sabara. Dick Grayson was an energetic, gifted acrobat and one of the main attractions of Hayley's Circus, along with his Mother (Mary) and Father (John) as part of the amazing Flying Grayson's act. His life was changed forever when Tony Zucco and his brothers tried to threaten circus manager John into taking a "protection" policy. When John Grayson refused, an altercation resulted in the police and the Batman being called. The Zuccos were easily defeated for the moment one of Tony's brothers was even captured.

An angered Zucco altered the rigs on the Flying Graysons trapeze act, causing John and Mary to fall to their deaths right in front of Dick during a performance. Young Grayson, with no surviving family members was taken in by Bruce Wayne, who saw shades of himself in Dick after his own parent's murder. After Dick discovered that Wayne was Batman, the two worked together to capture Tony Zucco. Dick chose the codename "Robin" because that is what his mother had called him.

Grayson sports a costume much like comic book's Tim Drake first wore, although an early promotional photo showed a suit with a bit more originality. His costume and equipment are also influenced heavily by his "Teen Titans" counterpart, however, their personalities differ massively; whereas the "Teen Titans" Robin is a serious, focused and occasionally obsessive leader, this version of Robin is far less serious and genuinely enjoys his work as a vigilante, constantly spouting one-liners and generally acting in the mould of a typical teenager and his Golden Age comic counterpart. Some tension arose when Robin and the character of Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) met. Batgirl, having been active as a vigilante and wanna-be partner of the Batman some time before Robin appeared, was quite jealous of Batman's new "official partner". This was changed when Batman took the liberty of revealing his and Robin's identities to her and fully accepted her into the fold. Afterward, Robin and Batgirl developed a more friendly, almost sibling-like working relationship. Robin even likes calling Batgirl "Babs" when they aren't in costumes, though she is not fond of the nickname.

As depicted in a possible future during the episode "Artifacts", Dick Grayson gives up the "Robin" name and costume to become Nightwing. Barbara and Batman still persist in calling him by his original codename. Batman did this more out of habit, and Barbara did it as a flirting sort of way to annoy Dick. Interestingly, the Police department who discover the Batcave in the beginning of the episode call Robin "The Red Robin", a reference to Kingdom Come, and they theorize that Bruce Wayne was the Red Robin (with his father, Thomas, as Batman).

Krypto the Superdog[edit]

In the Krypto the Superdog episode, "Bathound and the Robin", a literal robin called "Robbie" is saved by Ace the Bathound and wants to be Ace's sidekick, much to the dismay of Ace. Robbie's costume resembled the classic outfit of Dick Grayson.

Justice League: The New Frontier[edit]

Robin (apparently Dick Grayson) was featured in the DC DTV movie Justice League: New Frontier, where he was adopted, as a teenager (not a child, as in most interpretations), during the events of the movie. Batman did so because he realized that he was frightening those he was trying to protect. The circumstances of his adoption are not explained. He was voiced by Shane Haboucha.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold[edit]

Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne in Batman: The Brave and the Bold.

Grayson was featured in Batman: The Brave and the Bold in the episode "The Color of Revenge!" He is depicted as the protector of Blüdhaven - the city where he fights crime in the comics as Nightwing - but he is seen in the episode still as Robin. The rift between him and Batman has already taken place, and he is seen to still be angry at Batman for still treating him as a sidekick rather than a superhero in his own right. It is only after cooperating with Batman to defeat Crazy Quilt that Robin earns Batman's respect. After Crazy Quilt is defeated, Robin joins Batman when Killer Moth hijacks the Gotham Bank Money Train, but he rides in the side cart of Batman's motorcycle (something he stated he never wanted to do again). Robin was voiced by Crawford Wilson, and the teaser episode has several references to the 1960s Batman television series. Subsequently, he is seen in "Sidekicks Assemble!" where he leads fellow sidekicks Speedy and Aqualad in a battle against Ra's al Ghul. At the end of the episode, he decides to step out of the shadow of his mentor and take the costume and identity of Nightwing. He is seen as Robin once again in the teaser for "Emperor Joker!", which shows a flashback to an earlier battle between the Dynamic Duo and Firefly. In "The Criss Cross Conspiracy!", Nightwing returns and a flashback shows him as Robin. Dick eventually becomes the new Batman in the alternate future story, "The Knights of Tomorrow!", with Damian Wayne acting as the new Robin. The episode ends with Damian succeeding Dick as the new Batman after the former retires, and Damian's unnamed son (voiced by Sebastian Bader) becomes the new Robin. The adult Dick Grayson was voiced by Lex Lang, and Damian was voiced by both Patrick Cavanaugh (as a child) and by Diedrich Bader (as an adult). In addition, a statue of Batman holding Jason Todd's lifeless body is seen in Bat-Mite's museum in "Emperor Joker!". Later, in the opening for "Triumvirate of Terror" Robin was seen in the team of the Justice League International playing baseball against the Legion of Doom.

Batman: Under the Red Hood[edit]

In the DC Universe Animated Original Movie, Batman: Under the Red Hood, an adaptation of the bestselling Batman storyline "Under the Hood" from Batman #635-650 and Batman Annual #25, Neil Patrick Harris voices Dick Grayson/Nightwing while Jensen Ackles portrays Jason Todd/Red Hood. Vincent Martella and his younger brother Alexander Martella each provide the voice of the young Jason Todd in different ages as Robin in a flashback in the beginning of the film.

Young Justice[edit]

Robin (Dick Grayson) is one of the main cast members in the animated adaptation of Young Justice.[10] The character is voiced by actor Jesse McCartney.[11] Along with Aqualad, Kid Flash and Superboy, Robin is one of the founding members of Young Justice. However, when not on team missions, he still lives and performs his duties in Gotham City. As the most experienced member of the team, he assumed that he would automatically be the leader, but this would prove to not be the case. When in combat with Batman, their relationship is so defined that they do not need to communicate and Robin therefore assumed he could disappear and that others would immediately know what to do. Robin nominates Aqualad who accepts, saying that Robin will one day take over as he was born to lead the team. Throughout missions, Robin is shown to be the hacker of the group, making use of the computer interface on his wrist. As the youngest member of the team, he is still a bit immature and can often be heard laughing in combat as to either toy with or intimidate his opponents. He also questions the meaning of words, such as wondering why something is overwhelming, and not just "whelming".

In season 2, set 5 years later, Dick as Nightwing leads the team and has been replaced as Robin by Tim Drake. In Episode 8 of season 2 in the Justice League pantheon for fallen heroes we see a hologrammed computerized image of what appears to portray a second Robin with features similar to Jason Todd.

New Teen Titans[edit]

Teen Titans Go![edit]

  • Robin returns in Teen Titans Go! with Scott Menville reprising his role as the team leader. In the show, Robin is portrayed as a hard-as-nails leader but fairly more light-hearted. He's also a "sleep-Fighter."

Son of Batman[edit]

In the DC Universe Animated Original Movie, Son of Batman, an adaptation of Grant Morrison' Batman storyline "Batman and Son," Stuart Allan voices Damian Wayne/Robin while Sean Maher portrays Dick Grayson/Nightwing.

Fan films[edit]

Robin is depicted as the principal character in the 2004 fan film Grayson, a trailer for a fictional film in which Grayson investigates the apparent death of Batman.

Toys[edit]

Lego produced a Lego Batman line of licensed sets in 2006, and a second Lego Super Heroes line in 2012. The 7783-The Batcave: The Penguin and Mr. Freeze's Invasion set features Robin in the classic costume with a mini speedboat, as well as the 2012 version 6860-The Batcave which features Robin in a red and black costume. 7785-Arkham Asylum includes Nightwing and his motorcycle as well. Set 6857-The Dynamic Duo Funhouse Escape also features the newer red and black Robin figure. It is unclear whether this Robin is reflective of the Dick Grayson Robin, because of the costume's color scheme, or the Tim Drake Robin, since Nightwing is also featured in the Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes videogame. Lego has also announced a new Robin minifigure, coming in the 2013 Superhero sets which has the appearance of Robin from Batman: Arkham City.[citation needed]

Video games[edit]

Robin has been featured in various games. He is a playable character in both the Teen Titans video game for Game Boy Advance and the console Teen Titans game, as well as videogame adaptations of The Adventures of Batman and Robin and the films Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. He is also featured in Lego Batman: The Videogame in which he obtains various gadgets to use. The Tim Drake version of Robin is playable in several challenge maps in Batman: Arkham City (as well as in the Harley Quinn's Revenge DLC), while Dick Grayson appears as Nightwing.[12] Dick Grayson as Nightwing appears in Injustice: Gods Among Us and is voiced by Troy Baker. Damian Wayne, who is voiced by Neal McDonough, appears as Robin and a villainous version of Nightwing in the same game. Robin appears in Batman: Arkham Origins' multiplayer mode, with the ability to unlock his costume from Arkham City.[13]

Poetry[edit]

The British poet Simon Armitage wrote the poem Kid about Robin. The poem portrays Robin having been dismissed by Batman and found a new lifestyle.[14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rabin, Nathan. "Marlon Wayans". The A.V. Club. Retrieved September 13, 2010. 
  2. ^ Nathan Rabin (February 25, 1998). "Wayans World". The A.V. Club. Retrieved August 16, 2008. 
  3. ^ Chris O’Donnell On Why His ‘Robin’ Spin-Off Never Happened
  4. ^ "Nolan on Robin in Batman Sequels". SuperheroHype.com. June 23, 2005. Retrieved July 31, 2006. 
  5. ^ "UGO's World of Batman - Christian Bale Interview - Batman Begins". Batman.Ugo.Com. Retrieved September 18, 2010. 
  6. ^ "'Dark Knight Rises': What's The Future Of John Blake? – Music, Celebrity, Artist News". MTV. July 27, 2012. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Batman: CW Builds a Series Around pre-Robin Dick Grayson". Tvseriesfinale.com. October 1, 2008. Retrieved September 13, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Batman: CW Cancels Plans for pre-Robin Series, The Graysons". TV Series Finale. November 7, 2008. Retrieved September 13, 2010. 
  9. ^ "San Diego ComiCon 2005". Titanstower.com. Retrieved September 13, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Dc Universe: The Source » Blog Archive » Breaking News From Cartoon Network, Warner Bros. Animation And Dc Entertainment". Dcu.blog.dccomics.com. April 21, 2010. Retrieved September 13, 2010. 
  11. ^ Fitzpatrick, Kevin (July 23, 2010). "Comic-Con 2010: Young Justice". UGO.com. Retrieved July 23, 2010. 
  12. ^ Greg Miller (June 14, 2011). "Batman: Arkham City - Everyone Probably Gets Robin - PlayStation 3 News at IGN". IGN. Retrieved July 13, 2011. 
  13. ^ Massongill, Justin (July 31, 2013). "Arkham Origins Multiplayer Takes Crimefighting Online". PlayStation Blog. Retrieved July 31, 2013. 
  14. ^ "GCSE Bitesize: Subject matter". BBC. Retrieved December 14, 2011. 

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