If you've already seen DC's latest big screen superhero release, then you might have wondered about the whereabouts of Batman's faithful sidekick, and asked yourself: Where was Robin during Batman v. Superman ? He wasn't the only major comics character absent from the film, either; Superman was also missing a key player from his life, Daily Planet photographer and best friend of Clark Kent, Jimmy Olsen. Well, it turns out that Jimmy Olsen was in Batman v. Superman after all — he was the photographer who was shot in the head by African terrorists while Lois Lane watched in the first 10 minutes of the movie. (The truth is revealed in the closing credits, which clearly identify actor Michael Cassidy as playing "Jimmy Olsen.")
As horrifying as this truth is, it turns out that a similar fate also befell Batman's partner-in-crime-fighting, since Zack Snyder just revealed to IGN that Robin died before Batman v. Superman even began. In a video interview titled "How The Death Of Robin Shaped Ben Affleck's Batman," the director stated addressed the fate of the missing sidekick:
In my mind it was that Robin had died about 10 years earlier in some run-in with a young Joker. And so there was an interesting, to me, sort of a fun backstory there to play with. I felt like the whole idea was that there had been loss and there had been sacrifice, you know. In a weird way he sacrificed everything to be Batman. He doesn't really have a life outside the cave. I thought that by including Robin, a dead Robin, was helping us understand that he's been on quite a little journey.
There is only one actual reference to Robin's demise in the film itself: a brief glimpse of the character's suit standing in the Batcave, with the phrase "Joke's on you, Batman" spray-painted across it. You can tell it's actually Robin's suit — and not just an old suit of Batman's — because of the "R" symbol that can just be seen emblazoned on the chest underneath the taunting "HAHAH." And if you think of the idea of Robin being killed by a "young Joker" sounds preposterous, take into account the fact that Jared Leto (who plays the iconic villain in August's Suicide Squad ) is 44, so 10 years ago the character would have been in his mid-30s — a believable age at which to be murdering superheroes, l suppose.
So has Snyder officially destroyed all hope of ever seeing Robin in the DC Extended Universe? Not necessarily. There are plenty of ways that the character could still make an appearance in either of the upcoming Justice League films or — even more likely — in Ben Affleck's solo Batman movie. Of course, we may see Robin in flashbacks if any of the future films decide to delve more deeply into Bruce Wayne's backstory, which is only ever talked about in Batman v. Superman.
The character could be resurrected; the ending of BvS already hints at the resurrection of Superman himself and the Marvel Cinematic Universe has brought back at least half a dozen characters from the brink of death, so anything's possible in a comic book universe. Or maybe it could turn out that he wasn't even dead all along; that he's been held prisoner by the Joker for the past 10 years or gone into hiding or something.
But perhaps the easiest way to include Robin in future DCEU films would be to simply have another character don the cape. "Robin" is just a title, like "Batman" — the alias has been worn by five different characters throughout the history of DC comics. The original incarnation of Robin was, of course, circus acrobat Dick Grayson. The second sidekick, Jason Todd, was the one killed by the Joker in the infamous storyline "A Death In The Family." Then there was Tim Drake, first female Robin Stephanie Brown, and finally Bruce Wayne's own son Damian.
(If Robin does appear in the DCEU somewhere down the line, is it too much to ask that he be played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, thus fulfilling the implicit promise made by the ending of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises four years ago?)
For the record, the same director who said that Robin's death was a "fun backstory to play with" also had this to say about Jimmy Olsen's own deadly cameo, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly: "We just did it as this little aside because we had been tracking where we thought the movies were gonna go, and we don’t have room for Jimmy Olsen in our big pantheon of characters, but we can have fun with him, right?"
So yes, for those keeping track at home, Snyder has now referred to both of the shocking and dismaying deaths of these two immensely popular characters as "fun." Let's hope Snyder's reign of terror will end there and won't extend to other fan-favorite characters that they haven't yet managed to squeeze into the DCEU, like Commissioner Gordon or Batgirl or Superboy. After all, isn't better to save them for the sequels than to just kill them off now?
Watch Snyder — and Affleck himself — sound off on Robin's fate right here:
Images: Warner Bros. Pictures (2); Giphy (2)