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The Batman: The Bat-Family Deserves To Be In The Movies Too

Batman is probably the most popular and most profitable hero in all of DC Comics. Since his debut in Detective Comics #27 in 1939, the character is now 83 years old as of 2022. That’s 83 years’ worth of comics, movies, TV shows, video games, and more. This year, we’re getting another new Batman movie, The Batman, with a new actor in the role and a new timeline on a different Earth.

And yet, in more than eight decades of the character’s history, the Bat-family remains underused and outside of the comics and other miscellaneous adaptations. The most glaring is when it comes to live-action feature films, only two of which have featured a Robin.

Why it is so hard for movies to feature any member of the Bat-family when they’re so important in the comics? The DC Comics’ concept of legacy is tied to the Bat-family more than those connected to any other DC hero because they’re the biggest and most expanded in the entire DC universe.

How many canon Robins are there now in the main DC universe? There have been approximately six canon ones (though not at the same time), and only one of these have ever been featured in a live-action movie, which was Chris O’Donnell as Dick Grayson AKA Robin AKA Nightwing-to-be. Speaking of Nightwing, how the hell has he never gotten a live-action movie version?

In the article, I’ll be elaborating on several of the important Bat-family who deserve their live-action feature film debut. Some may have already appeared in TV shows, while others will be getting their own movies soon, so of course, I’ll be mentioning all that too. Also, these won’t be full-blown biographies of these characters, but rather, why I think they deserve to have a live-action feature film version. You can get all their histories and whatnot on online wikis, anyways.

Dick Grayson AKA Robin AKA Nightwing

Dick Grayson was the first and original Robin, which means that he will always be Bruce Wayne AKA Batman’s first son (albeit adopted). He is the Robin that all other Robins aspire to be, even the stubborn and bull-headed Jason Todd. He was also the first Robin to grow out of the mantle and adopt a brand new one. In Dick’s case, he became Nightwing, which is now one of the most iconic legacy characters in all of the DC universe.

In the comics, he often acts as the big brother of the Bat-Family, giving advice to the other Robins and also even Batman himself at times. Nightwing is the light to Batman’s darkness, and recently, he’s been more like Batman’s equal and a colleague instead of the sidekick he’s been in the past. If Batman falls into the darkness, Nightwing is the one who steps in to keep the family stable and in line.

That’s exactly why the Batman movies need a Robin (or Robins). These live-action feature films like to explore the dark psychology behind Batman, and how far the Dark Knight is willing to go to keep Gotham safe, but the answer is already there in the form of the Robins. The Robins and the rest of the Bat-family help keep Batman balanced and without going too far. Essentially, they keep him human.

Brenton Thwaites portrays a decent Dick Grayson and Nightwing in the Titans TV series, but again, that’s not a feature film.

Jason Todd AKA Robin AKA Red Hood

It’s easy to brush off Jason Todd as the problem child or the black sheep of the Bat-family. Honestly, in most times, he is exactly, bringing trouble and then some, but with the trauma he’s suffered (dying at the hands of Joker, being brought back to life, and finding out you’ve been replaced and forgotten), who could blame him? Still, that doesn’t really excuse him using guns and being a killer, but in the comics, he’s grown to actually stop using guns and avoid killing people again.

Many fans of Jason Todd like him for being a violent and angry anti-hero, but his long redemption arc would make for a good story in a set of feature films. It took years for DC Comics to bring Jason back to life, and longer still for him to gradually redeem himself and re-entering the Bat-family. Several movies with that arc would be awesome, especially seeing how the Titans TV series fumbled in that regard (Curran Walter’s Jason Todd hilariously died and came back to life in one episode, only to come back to life in the next episode in what seems to span only a few days in the timeline of the series).

2016’s Batman V Superman Dawn Of Justice teased us with the possibility of a Red Hood appearance by showing that a Jason Todd’s Robin (his name was never mentioned, though) died at the hands of the Joker, but it was a vague easter egg at best and one that none of the DCEU films has yet to expand upon or develop further. Bringing a proper Jason Todd Robin and Red Hood would add a lot of great family drama for Batman movies, which is something we’ve never really seen much of before.

Tim Drake AKA Robin AKA Red Robin AKA Drake

Tim Drake was the third person to pick up the mantle of Robin. In the comics, he later became Red Robin and embarrassingly enough, Drake, but he’s back to being just Robin for now. Tim Drake is my favourite Robin of all time, and there’s a huge reason for that. Tim is unique in that Batman wasn’t the one who approached him, but it was the other way around. It’s a testament to how smart and intelligent Tim is that he deduced that Batman needs a Robin to keep him from going too far. Not only that, but Tim also figured out that Bruce Wayne is Batman simply by his skills of deduction.

Even more so than Dick or Jason, Tim Drake is most deserving of Batman’s title of ‘World’s Greatest Detective’, something that even Batman himself has previously mentioned. Tim might not be the best fighter or the strongest of the Robins, but he’s definitely the smartest of the Bat-family. With the upcoming The Batman movie slated to feature the ‘detective’ side of Batman as a more prominent aspect, perhaps Tim Drake is the perfect Robin to introduce in that franchise of movies.

Jay Lycurgo plays Tim Drake in the Titans TV series, but his version of Tim Drake features a somewhat altered origin (one that’s no longer really tied to Batman). A live-action feature film debut for the character would go a long way to making him a more popular choice for best Robin.

Stephanie Brown AKA Robin AKA Spoiler

Stephanie Brown as Robin.

Yeah, many might not know this if they’re not comic book fans, but there was once a canon female Robin in the DC universe (The Dark Knight Returns’ Carrie Kelley isn’t canon). She became Robin because she was angry that Tim apparently cheated on her. She then met Batman and demanded to be his Robin. She was later fired by Batman because she didn’t follow his orders, so she went back to her original Spoiler persona. She then later became Batgirl to replace Cassandra Cain before becoming Spoiler again.

To this day, Stephanie Brown is unique in the DC universe for being the only person to have ever been both Robin and Batgirl. In the current comics continuity, she’s back to being Batgirl, sharing the mantle with Cassandra Cain and Barbara Gordon.

It would be interesting to see if Warner Bros will introduce Stephanie Brown in the upcoming Batgirl movie, which is slated to premiere on HBO Max sometime in 2022.

Stephanie Brown as Spoiler.

Damian Wayne AKA Robin

Damian Wayne is the fifth person to carry the mantle, and he’s currently the main Robin in comic book continuity. Damian is the biological son of Bruce Wayne AKA Batman and Talia al-Ghul, the daughter of Batman villain Ra’s al-Ghul. He was kept a secret from Batman and was trained under the League Of Assassins for many years. It was only when he was a bit older (but still a kid) that he became Robin.

Many fans dislike Damian for his arrogance and douche-ness. Basically, he’s usually an asshole, which makes many around him dislike his behaviour. I would love to say that he’s grown to be better but he’s pretty much still the same bratty kid that he was back when he was introduced in 2006. A live-action version of Damian Wayne would likely just be annoying and irritating, if not done well.

Duke Thomas AKA Robin AKA The Signal

Duke Thomas is the most recent person to have taken the Robin mantle, and he’s the newest member of the Bat-family, having debuted in 2013’s Batman #21. Duke Thomas became a Robin as part of the We Are Robin movement but later became The Signal when he was officially trained by Batman to be the protector of Gotham during the day.

What makes Duke Thomas unique is that he’s not related to any existing Bat-family member and that he’s a metahuman, which means he actually has powers. His abilities are vaguely defined but he can basically control and manipulate both light and darkness. He helps bring an outside perspective to the Bat-family when required, especially since he’s the latest addition to the Bat-family.

Barbara Gordon AKA Batgirl AKA Oracle

Next to Dick Grayson, Barbara Gordon is probably the most popular member of the Bat-family. She’s the daughter of Commissioner Gordon and she’s the first-ever person to pick up the mantle of Batgirl (if you disregard Betty Kane, and she’s not a member of the Bat-family). She infamously got shot by the Joker in The Killing Joke, causing her to become disabled and take on the mantle of Oracle, where she would guide heroes and give them information from a centre of operations.

She has since returned to becoming both Batgirl and Oracle again after getting some technical modifications that fixed her paralysis. Out of all the members of the Bat-family, Barbara Gordon is the most mature, and she often acts as the voice of reason in any family matter. Even Batman listens to her advice, and all the Robins and Batgirls look up to Barbara as an experienced hero.

Leslie Grace will be portraying Barbara Gordon AKA Batgirl in the upcoming Batgirl movie for HBO Max, which is slated for sometime in 2022. It’s important to point out that this will be the first proper live-action feature film debut of the character, considering that Alicia Silverston’s Batgirl in 1997’s Batman & Robin was Barbara Wilson, a niece of Alfred Pennyworth.

Cassandra Cain AKA Batgirl AKA Orphan

Cassandra Cain is a fan-favourite Batgirl of many, as she has all the badassery of Damian Wayne but none of the arrogance or douche-ness. Just like Damian, Cassandra Cain was raised to be a deadly assassin, as she was the daughter of David Cain and Lady Shiva, the latter of whom is widely regarded as the most skilled and powerful combatant in the DC universe.  She was also raised to read human body language and zero verbal skills, as part of her parent’s plan to turn her into the ultimate assassin. As a result, she’s nearly mute.

In the comics, she also went by the name Orphan, before taking on the Batgirl mantle. Out of all the Robins and Batgirls, Cassandra Cain can potentially be the strongest hand-to-hand combatant. That’s why it’s so extremely disappointing that Ella Jay Basco’s portrayal of Cassandra Cain in 2020’s Birds Of Prey movie was NOTHING like the character from the comics. It’s such a shame and a missed opportunity, as now we won’t be able to get the proper version of the character in the DCEU.

Maybe future The Batman films can change that.

Kate Kane AKA Batwoman

Kate Kane is more popular (or infamous) these days due to the CW’s ongoing Batwoman series. Kate Kane is the cousin of Bruce Wayne on his mother’s side (Martha Wayne’s maiden name is Martha Kane). She usually works independently of the Bat-family but has recently grown quite close to them at times. She doesn’t always agree with Bruce Wayne AKA Batwoman, which is why she prefers to do her job on her own. Plus, she has an existing military background and a father that supported her actions as a vigilante (in the comics, not the TV series).

Luke Fox AKA Batwing

Luke Fox is the son of none other than Lucious Fox, who is most famously portrayed by Morgan Freeman in The Dark Knight Trilogy by Christoper Nolan. In the comics, Luke Fox isn’t the first Batwing. That was originally David Zavimbe, who was the ‘Batman Of Africa’ as part of Batman Incorporated. Luke Fox is different from the other members of the Bat-family in that he relies more on technology to fight crime.

His Batwing suit is basically what would happen if someone combined Iron Man and Batman together. The Batwoman TV series tried to show Camrus Johnson’s Luke Fox suiting up as Batwing, but the budget of a CW TV series simply can’t result in effects that we saw from Iron Man in the MCU movies.

Which Batman Family member do you want to see on-screen and on his/her spin-off flick? Who deserves the spotlight? Let us know!

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