|Adaptations of Robin in other media|
|Created by||Bob Kane
|Original source||Comics published by DC Comics|
|First appearance||Detective Comics #38 (April 1940)|
|Films and television|
|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, Tim Drake, Jason Todd and Damian Wayne are generally the versions 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, Dick Grayson was generally portrayed as being a teenager or adult.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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 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. Bale has also given the same opinion regarding Robin, even though his favorite Batman story, Batman: Dark Victory, focuses on Robin's origin.
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 is 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. He also develops a great admiration towards Batman. 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 is Batman. When he was old enough, he became a police officer, and eventually befriends Batman's ally Commissioner James Gordon.
After the discovery of Bane, Blake confronts Bruce and attempts to convince him to return as Batman. When Bane publicly declares himself, Blake takes 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 and is the true conclusion of Christopher Nolan's Batman series.
Jason Todd / Robin is confirmed to exist and currently be deceased in the DC Extended Universe, with his suit covered in Joker graffiti making its first appearance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Director Zack Snyder later confirmed Robin was killed ten years before the movie by a younger Joker, and the scene illustrated the sacrifices Bruce Wayne endured to be the vigilante and his willingness to face his past mistakes.
In Suicide Squad, it is revealed Harley Quinn was an accomplice to Robin's murder, something that wasn't present in the "A Death in the Family" (1988) storyline as Quinn was not yet created. Director David Ayer later clarified that the Joker was indeed the person who killed Robin.
In 2017, a Nightwing film was confirmed to be in development. Dick Grayson/Nightwing is confirmed to exist in the DCEU.
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 the Bat-Embargo which limited the use of Batman-related characters from any media source outside of the new Batman Begins movie franchise and The Batman animated series.
The Dick Grayson version of Robin made his first appearance during the first season of Batman: The Animated Series (1992–1995), voiced by Loren Lester. He 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 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.
The Tim Drake version of Robin appears as the second incarnation in The New Batman Adventures (1997–1998). This 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".
The Cartoon Network series Teen Titans (an adaptation of the New Teen Titans comic book series) with one similarity is that the character Robin is the Teen Titan's leader. Robin joins Beast Boy, Cyborg, Raven and Starfire when Jump City is threatened by aliens in "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").
The identity of the series iteration of Robin (voiced by Scott Menville) isn't directly obvious, as the style of this version's costume is still closely modeled on Tim Drake's first costume, however, the colors are those of Dick Grayson and Jason Todd. Also, Robin has never been directly referred to by full name which was intentional, according to both Sam Register and Glen Murakami. The time-travel themed episode "How Long Is Forever?" showed a future where Robin has taken on the role of Nightwing (a role taken up by Dick Grayson). The episode "Fractured" shows an alternate universe version of Robin with exactly the same DNA shows up named Nosyarg Kcid (Dick Grayson spelled backwards).
In many instances, Robin's relationship to Batman is heavily referenced. In "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 "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 with two figures falling (taken from Dick Grayson's origin). When Robin rejects Slade in "Apprentice: Part 2" as a father figure 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 "The Quest", Robin says that he was trained by the best and this is believed to be a reference to the Batman.
Robin also has shown to have romantic feelings for Starfire since they first met (just like Dick Grayson). There have been romantic moments shared between the two in the series, but neither Robin nor Starfire admit their feelings for each other until the movie Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo. During the film, Robin and Starfire come very close to admitting their feelings and having their first romantic kiss, but sadly Robin proves to be too focused on the mission (and also being interrupted by Beast Boy and the others) before insisting that, as heroes, they can never be anything more. However, after the film's climax battle, Robin and Starfire finally admit their feelings for each other and share their first true romantic kiss with Cyborg commenting, "Well, it's about time!". In the end, they are both seen holding hands and finally become a romantic couple.
The tie-in comic, Teen Titans Go! appears to confirm that this version of Robin is indeed Dick Grayson, as issue #47 focuses on Robin struggling through the anniversary of the death of his parents (which are shown to be the Flying Graysons, as in the episode "Haunted") with the other Titans trying to help him cope. Batman makes a cameo overseeing Titans Tower from the city, and after seeing Robin and Starfire kiss, claims that Robin is "in better hands".
Jason Todd is also mentioned by Beast Boy to be a potential candidate for Red X in the episode "X".
The Dick Grayson version of Robin appeared in The Batman, voiced by Evan Sabara. In this version, Dick Grayson is an energetic, gifted acrobat and one of the main attractions of Hayley's Circus, along with his parents, as part of the amazing Flying Grayson's act. His life was changed forever when Tony Zucco and his brothers tried to threaten Grayson's father into taking a "protection" policy. When the Graysons refused, an altercation resulted in the police and 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 Dick's parents to fall to their deaths right in front of their son during a performance. With no surviving family members, Dick was taken in by Bruce Wayne as Bruce saw shades of himself in Dick after his own parents' murder. After Dick discovered that Wayne was Batman, the two worked together to capture Zucco. Dick chose the codename "Robin" because that is what his mother had called him.
Grayson sports a costume elements of Tim Drake's two Robin costumes, 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 incarnation is a serious, focused and occasionally obsessive leader, this version 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 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 their identities to Batgirl and fully accepted 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 as 'Red Robin', a reference to Kingdom Come, and they theorize that Bruce Wayne was Red Robin (with his father as Batman and his mother as Batwoman).
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.
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.
Dick 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. Damian Wayne is voiced by both Patrick Cavanaugh (as a child) and by Diedrich Bader (as an adult). 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.
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.
Robin (Dick Grayson) is one of the main cast members in the animated adaptation of Young Justice. The character is voiced by actor Jesse McCartney. 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 Grayson 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.
Carrie Kelly appears as Robin in the two-part animated film Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, voiced by Ariel Winter. Being a fan of Batman, Carrie took the mantle of Robin herself when the Mutant crime organization had been wreaking havoc on Gotham. Batman comes to see her as a suitable Robin, training her and using her to gather intel. She helps him with leading the former Mutant's group Sons of Batman into learning his less violent ways, when Gotham needed martial law enforced. When Batman is called out to a duel with Superman after refusing to go back into retirement, Carrie helps Bruce fake his death. She, along with Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) and Bruce train the Sons of Batman group to begin taking on his job.
The Teen Titans iteration of Robin returns in Teen Titans Go! with Scott Menville reprising his role. In the show, Robin is portrayed as the self-appointed, hard-as-nails, slightly power mad leader of the Teen Titans but fairly more light-hearted, and has a huge crush on Starfire but is too nervous to admit this, though he is also seen as being very arrogant, often depicting himself as the so-called "best superhero", believing that heroes should always put themselves in the spotlight and take all the glory. He is also a "sleep-Fighter", and is insecure about his lack of superpowers, which has, on multiple occassions, led to one of the other Titans committing mutiny and replacing Robin as leader. In some episodes, he is shown to fall into fits of madness easily, completely ignoring his team to follow through on his own view of how to carry something out. Such examples included continued to dig an escape tunnel despite being rescued, and thinking that nature is so dangerous he needs to be on edge and eat whatever he can find. An episode also showed that he had a backup Robin squad which features Carrie Kelly, a darker Tim Drake, and the upbeat 60s version all voiced by Scott.
In 2013, Justice League: War was released, the first of a series of films that shared the same continuity, known as the DC Animated Movie Universe. Damian Wayne and Dick Grayson appear in several of these films, Damian/Robin being voiced by Stuart Allan while Sean Maher voices Dick/Nightwing.
In Batman vs. Robin, Damian comes into contact with the Court of Owls, being tempted to leave Batman and join him. Throughout the film, Batman and Robin fight over Damian's rawness and his lack of discipline, leading to Damian almost joining the court before Talon (voiced by Jeremy Sisto), an assassin for the Court, is ordered to kill him when the leader discovers his secret identity. After Talon massacres the entire court, he and Robin clash in the Batcave before Talon commits suicide. Afterwards, Damian leaves for a monastery in the Himalayas.
Damian returns in Batman: Bad Blood, teaming up with Dick Grayson to investigate his father's disappearance. The Heretic (voiced by Travis Willingham), makes his first film appearance, as an artificially-aged clone of Damian like in the comics. Heretic attempts to absorb Damian's mind into his so he will know what it feels like to be loved, but Talia al Ghul executes him for his treachery, much to Damian's horror.
In Justice League vs. Teen Titans, Batman decides to have Robin join the Teen Titans to teach him about teamwork and has Nightwing drop him off at Titans Tower. Damian ends up warming up to the team after being initially hostile towards them, forming a particular friendship with Raven.
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, although it has been stated on Lego.com that it is the Tim Drake incarnation. Lego has also announced a new Robin minifigure(also Tim Drake), released in the 2013 Superhero sets which has the appearance of Robin from Batman: Arkham City. In 2014, the Damian Wayne incarnation was released in a new set.
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 (voiced by Scott Menville), 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. 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. Dick Grayson appears as Robin in Batman: Arkham Origins' multiplayer mode, voiced by Josh Keaton, with the ability to unlock Tim Drake's costume from Arkham City. In Batman: Arkham Knight, Tim Drake returns as Robin and Dick Grayson returns as Nightwing, while Jason Todd makes his debut as a new persona called the Arkham Knight, eventually transitioning into Red Hood. The Damian Wayne version of Robin is seen fighting Batman in one of the trailers for Injustice 2, though was later confirmed to be a playable character.