Michael Keaton’s Batman has a Robin in Batgirl, and the DCEU needs to use Dick Grayson due to his relationship with Barbara Gordon.
Michael Keaton’s Batman gets his own Robin in Batgirl, according to photos from the film’s set, and while there are many people to take on the role of Boy Wonder, this particular version needs to be Dick Grayson. Although Keaton hasn’t played Batman since 1992’s Batman Returns, his role in The Flash is expected to reposition him as the DC Extended Universe’s Dark Knight moving forward. This includes another appearance in the upcoming Batgirl movie starring Leslie Grace’s Barbara Gordon. It’s now been teased she won’t be the only member of the Bat-family to appear, as Keaton’s Robin has been spotted in mural art.
The Robin spotted in the Batgirl set photos doesn’t directly confirm the identity of Batman’s apprentice. The comics have introduced many different characters who eventually took on the mantle, ranging from Dick Grayson to Jason Todd to Tim Drake to Stephanie Brown to Damian Wayne. While the artwork rules out Stephanie Brown, Batgirl’s place as a soft reboot of Batman’s DCEU mythology means any of the others could potentially be Keaton’s Robin. Each option gives Robin a different potential role in Batgirl and the DCEU at large, but the movie needs to reveal that Keaton’s boy wonder is, in fact, Dick Grayson.
Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon have a storied and complicated relationship throughout DC comics and other media. They worked together as protege’s of Batman for years upon Batgirl’s original introduction, and despite the flirtations that came over time, it wasn’t until 1998’s animated movie Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero that they were shown as a couple. This quickly led to their romantic relationship translating to the comics while they were known as Nightwing and Oracle. They’ve broken up and gotten back together multiple times, blurring the lines between lovers, friends, and superhero colleagues. Despite how complicated Nightwing and Batgirl’s relationship has been, Dick’s Robin is still the one who has the closest connection to Barbara, making him the definitive choice to appear in Batgirl.
It would also be quite surprising if the DCEU skipped past Dick Grayson as it rewrites its own canon with Keaton’s Batman. Dick Grayson is always the first Robin in Bruce Wayne’s story. No matter what medium or creator is involved with Batman, Dick’s place as the first Robin is always retained—even in the case of Zack Snyder killing him. It wouldn’t make sense then for Batgirl to skip past Grayson and make Tim Drake, Jason Todd, or Damien Wayne Keaton’s Robin. The others all have an important place in comics history and deserve a chance to be in the DCEU down the road, but it is better to introduce Dick first.
By using Dick Grayson as Keaton’s Robin in Batgirl, there is even the opportunity that he appears in the film as Nightwing instead of Robin. The mural of Batman and Robin could be a painting from Keaton’s younger days as a crime fighter, meaning Dick would be all grown up by the events of the movie. Bruce taking Barbara under his wing to become Gotham’s new protector could be what brings Nightwing into the picture. Since Warner Bros. has been developing a Nightwing live-action movie since 2017, his appearance in Batgirl as Keaton’s present or former Robin can potentially give the DCEU project new life.