Excited for Matt Reeves’ take on the Caped Crusader? You’re not alone. The new take on Batman is easily one of the most anticipated upcoming superhero films, and the casting of Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne has only added to the intrigue.
It’s rumored that the film will include not one, but two villains, with one of those villains all but guaranteed to be the Penguin. It’s also being rumored that Batman’s trusty sidekick, Robin, will also be showing up in the film!
The last time Robin was in a live action Batman film, we got George Clooney and his “Bat-Nipples”. Needless to say, Robin’s last appearance did not go so well. Batman & Robin was the worst received live-action Batman film to date, although I think Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Dr. Freeze and some weird thing that was supposed to be Bane, contributed to that.
Nonetheless, fans want Robin to show up. The acrobatic sidekick is every bit as iconic at this point as the bat himself (well, maybe not that iconic). Only problem is which Robin will Reeves incorporate into the film? There have been quite a few Robins in the comics, so there are options to choose from.
To be safe, let’s take a look at who could play the two most popular and well known versions of the character: Dick Grayson and Jason Todd. As most already know, Grayson ends up becoming Nightwing while Todd goes on to become the infamous Red Hood.
Who should DC and Warner Bros. look to cast to play these Robins? I have a few ideas…
Dick Grayson aka ‘Robin/Nightwing’
Fun Fact: Dick Grayson is the only one of the Robins to be featured in a live-action Batman movie. Unfortunately, that film featured the above mentioned “Bat-Nipples”.
Grayson is by far the most notable of the Robins.
The youngest in a family of acrobats known as the “Flying Graysons,” Richard “Dick” Grayson watches as a mafia boss gun down his family in cold blood. It was a failed attempt to extort money out of the circus where they worked. Bruce Wayne/Batman then takes Grayson in as his legal ward and the rest is history. Grayson serves as Robin and Batman’s sidekick before making the transition into his own hero, Nightwing.
Who could become Nightwing?
Aaron Taylor Johnson
After his brief appearance in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Aaron Taylor-Johnson deserves another shot at comic book movie glory. He played Quicksilver in AoU, and while he was good as the character, he was limited to maybe 30 minutes of screen time. That didn’t provide the character room to develop or give ATJ much opportunity to make the character his own.
He has the talent, the build, and the look to pull off a very convincing Dick Grayson.
Taylor-Johnson also led his own comic book franchise for a short period of time with Kick-Ass 1 and 2. In those films, he played a regular guy, aspiring to be a superhero. So, let’s take it up a notch. Let’s get this man in a role where he can really kick some ass (pun absolutely intended). He’s no stranger to comic book adaptations, and it would be easy to see him take on this role as the sidekick that evolves into his own hero.
Now that it appears Marvel’s The Punisher from Netflix is over, Ben Barnes is suddenly free from any comic book related commitments. This is great news for Warner Bros. and DC, because this guy is as talented as can be.
Don’t believe me? Go check out his performance as Billy Russo/Jigsaw in The Punisher and then come back to me.
Barnes has incredible range and could take on an iconic role like Nightwing. His experience in the comic book adaptation genre has been limited to the villainous side of the house, so it would be a nice change-up to see him take on the role of a hero and lead a franchise of his own.
Perhaps the most popular choice for Grayson/Robin/Nightwing, Dylan O’Brien has been a fan favorite for the role and it’s not hard to see why. He has the right look, is immensely talented, and has all the qualities you look for in a leading man. While this would be a sidekick role to start off, the role will undoubtedly expand as Robin evolves into Nightwing which would give O’Brien his own franchise to lead.
He’s no stranger to that either.
O’Brien starred in (and carried) the Maze Runner franchise. Playing the lead character, Thomas, O’Brien cemented himself as not only a leading man candidate, but a legitimate action star as well. Getting O’Brien to take on this role would be huge for DC. There’s no doubt the fans would be ecstatic about adding a talent like O’Brien to the DC roster.
Jason Todd aka ‘Robin/Red Hood’
The son of Willis and Catherine Todd, Jason Todd was a young street orphan who first encountered Batman as he was attempting to steal the tires of the Batmobile in an alley.
Fun Fact: it was the same alley where Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered. (Actually, that’s not really a “fun” fact.)
His mother was a former drug addict who overdosed and his father disappeared working for a mob boss, so he was placed in a school for troubled youth by Bruce Wayne. After helping Batman apprehend a gang of thieves, he earned the mantle of Robin.
The 1988 “Death in the Family” storyline sees Todd track down his biological mother — only to find out she’s working for the Joker and hands him over willingly. Joker murders Todd before Batman can arrive to save him. Years later Batman’s new Robin, Tim Drake, is kidnapped by a revived Todd, now going by the Red Hood.
Taron Egerton is a name that constantly pops up in fancasts and forums, like Reddit, for the role of Jason Todd/Red Hood. There’s tons of amazing fan art of Egerton in full Red Hood attire and even a petition (don’t get me started on my feelings towards petitions) directed to Geoff Johns to cast Egerton as Jason Todd.
Saying that Egerton is an in-demand actor would be a severe understatement.
Ever since his breakout role as Eggsy, a street punk turned badass, sophisticated secret agent in Kingsman: The Secret Service (and its sequel), Egerton has been at the top of a lot of studio’s lists. Most recently, he crushed the role of Sir Elton John in the biopic, Rocketman. There are also tons of Marvel fans who would love to see him join the MCU. Warner Bros. would be wise to make a play for Egerton, Red Hood seems like a role right up his alley.
You don’t see Ansel Elgort in a lot of big budget, “high-profile” films, but despite this, he has quietly put together an impressive resume of acting credits. Most notably, Elgort starred in Édgar Wright’s critically acclaimed and surprise box office hit, Baby Driver. In a cast that featured the likes of Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx, Elgort owned every scene he was in.
Elgort is a phenomenal actor who has really flown somewhat under the radar up to this point (outside of Baby Driver).
He did have a moderately sized role in the Divergent series. Franchise affair doesn’t appear to be his thing though as he’s starred in smaller, more original(ish) films like Paper Towns, November Criminals and his upcoming film, The Goldfinch. A talent like his should be recognized worldwide. The role of Jason Todd would do just that him.
Like the Elgort suggestion, this one may also seem a bit “out of the box” or “from left field” but Sam Caflin has continued to prove with each new role he is the real deal. Really coming onto the scene in a supporting role in 2011’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Caflin followed that up with another large supporting role in 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman.
Back-to-back roles in two big budget studio films, not a bad way to get yourself noticed.
It worked. Caflin scored a recurring supporting role in The Hunger Games movies in which his role expanded with each new film. Since his role in those films, Caflin doesn’t have trouble finding work. He has been featured in a number of films (most smaller-budget films), but no franchise-leading roles. Caflin is a fantastic supporting actor but he hasn’t made the leap yet to leading man. He has the looks and certainly has the talent, all he needs is the role to solidify his star status. Jason Todd could be that role for him.