Speculation about whether or not Robin will appear in The Dark Knight Rises has been going on for a long time now. Nolan has made it clear that there is no place for Robin in his Bat-world, which you think would end it all right there. But not us fanboys, no sir. We have to keep looking, keep hoping, keep pining for that little bit extra out of a film. Let’s take a look at some of the other Robin/Nightwing rumors that have shown up over the course of the film’s production.
First, there was a report of a location scout who was looking for a place that was described as Robin’s Cave. I reported on this a long time ago. Like a really long time ago, and you can check that out here. Secondly, there was reports that Juno Temple may or may not be portraying a Robin-like character. This was later expanded on as a street wise girl that most assume to be Holly Robinson, which has been confirmed. She’s been oddly missing from any and all trailers though. Weird. You can check out that rumor here, or just Google it and watch the internet go nuts. Then there was a shot of an extra during the football stadiums scene who was holding a sign with a very familiar looking ‘R’ symbol. You can check that out here, but this was later confirmed as being just a random coincidence from a fan in the crowd.
Now let’s talk JGL. There has always been the rumor that he may or may not be Robin, just like there was a rumor that he may or may not be Holiday, or Alberto Falcone, or the Riddler or Hugo Strange. You can check out a little bit on these rumors here from back in my days at SupaScoot’s Action News! I think everyone wants him to be more than he will actually turn out to be in the movie. Which is understandable as he’s a great actor, and most fans of his are eager for him to excel in everything he does.
The Robin rumor really doesn’t want to die. And it’s not really Robin. No one is expecting JGL to don a pair of scale undies and some wing tip boots and join bats on the roofs of Gotham. But there are many ways to incorporate the Nightwing element, or strip it down and go with Dick Grayson. Personally, I don’t think that’s going to happen at all, but let’s take a look at the recent rumor and you can decide for yourself.
It really all started over on Forbes, which is kind of strange in itself. The author believes that JGL’s character (John Blake) is really Nolan’s version of Dick Grayson, and he goes a considerable ways to prove it:
I’m here today to answer a question that fans have been debating online for weeks now: Is John Blake actually director Christopher Nolan‘s version of Dick Grayson, aka Robin, aka Nightwing?
I believe the answer to that question is “Yes,” and I’m here to try and prove it to you. Read on!
First, you should know that nowadays Dick Grayson’s actual full name in the comics is Richard John Grayson. John Grayson was Dick Grayson’s father, the father who eventually died along with Dick’s mother, Mary, leading to Dick being taken in by Batman and later becoming Robin. In adulthood, Dick left Bruce’s side and set out on his own with the new masked identity Nightwing.
Second, you should know that in adulthood, Dick Grayson became a street cop as his daytime identity. This helped him know the city better, learn more about crime and criminals in his area, and so on.
Now, we’ve only seen a very little bit about the film character John Blake, but what we’ve seen is that he’s a young cop whom the trailers depict assisting Batman in the fight against Bane, and Blake is shown having some sort of involvement with an orphanage/boys home. Blake also goes around drawing a little chalk bat-like symbol as a sign calling for Batman to return to Gotham as well as apparently some kind of sign of solidarity among the resistance to Bane (the latter point is not entirely certain/clear, but the chalk bat-emblem seems to definitely be used as some kind of sign among the folks resisting Bane).
Okay, let’s take a closer look at that chalk symbol…
While that mildly resembles a bat-symbol, there’s something ELSE it resembles even more. Take a gander at this…
Do you see more resemblance between those two, than between the chalk image and a bat-symbol? I sure do!
That’s the strongest link, I feel, between Blake’s character and Nightwing. But WAIT, how about a subtle little nod to Robin as well? Look at what happens if we flip the chalk bat-symbol upside down…
Yep. It’s a bird.
So, a cop named John who assists Batman, who uses a symbol that upside-up looks like Nightwing’s emblem and upside-down looks like a robin bird. To top it all off, this is the final Batman film, the end of the legend, and I think Nolan wants to create a complete Batman mythology that touches on the most iconic elements of the Batman mythos. So I feel the inclusion of some sort of nod to Dick Grayson is something Nolan might really want to include.
So, is John Blake really Dick Grayson, using a new last name because he was adopted from that orphanage? Will this be the “realistic” depiction of Robin/Nightwing for Nolan’s Batman universe? I think so, and I think the above evidence supports the theory pretty well.
Okay. Now some of his ideas are very interesting, but it’s pretty clear to me he’s reaching. I think that John Blake might just be John Blake. JGL might be playing a no name character because he’s just THAT GOOD. Seriously, the whole web community is up in arms over this, and pondering and speculating over who he might be, when really he could be anybody/nobody and make it great.
I honestly can’t believe I’m saying this, but I don’t want to see Robin in TDKR. I really don’t. Dick Grayson as a little shout out maybe, but not Robin. Which is strange for me, as I am easily the most die hard Robin fan you will ever meet. Seriously. I nearly delivered blows to joey123mo for saying that nobody cares about Robin. To me, Robin is everything that makes Marvel and DC Comics different from one another. Robin is the fuel behind the DC engine. Let me explain, and I apologize to the non-comic fans who don’t give a shit about Robin, but I need to vent or I will punch joey123mo and the rest of the Bomb Droppers just because.
Robin is the first kid sidekick. The beginning. Robin lived on to become a premier member of the DC Universe, having been raised and trained by Batman and being a respected member of the super hero community after he shed the pixie boots and became Nightwing. Without Robin there would be no Aqualad, Speedy, Wonder Girl, Superboy, any of them. The position of Robin maintained and was filled by a number of great characters, always at the side of Batman and at the forefront of the DC Universe. After Robin arrived in the pages of Detective Comics, we saw Marvel introduce their first kid sidekick as well; Bucky, Captain America’s partner. Here is where everything changes between the comics companies.
Bucky died. It was war, and Cap was running around with a child at his side. Makes sense. Bucky died, and Marvel ended up never going the route of the sidekick. Bucky was a shining example to the superhero world that this was no place for kids. There was no Spider-Boy, Iron Kid, Lil’ Thor, none of that. Because Bucky set as much of an example with his death that Robin set with his life. Which means that Robin (and to the same extent Bucky) is responsible for the entire direction of the DC Universe, which means Robin is indeed someone to care about. That ends my rant and brings us back to The Dark Knight Rises.
As much as I love and respect the character of Robin, there is absolutely no place for him in Nolan’s universe. Even if JGL could play an awesome Nightwing, and even set up a future as that character in film, I don’t want to see it. It wouldn’t be pure. You can’t have Nightwing without Robin, it just can’t be done. Dick Grayson is a possibility, but again wouldn’t be the same iconic character if he isn’t raised at the side of Batman.
I let this article get away from me, but I think I said what I needed to say. Let’s just let John Blake be John Blake. Just let JGL give us the great performance that he is going to give us, and stop with the Robin rumors. Stop with all of the rumors. And don’t ever disrespect Robin in my presence, or you will be verbally assaulted with facts, history, and fan devotion the likes of which you’ve never seen.
The Dark Knight Rises into theaters on July 20th, 2012.