Zack Snyder’s decision to make the DCEU Batman a grizzled veteran close to the end of his career has been met with some justified criticism. After all, is it really a great idea to kick off a new cinematic universe with a Batman who’s apparently fought all his major foes and seems to be winding down towards retirement?
Whatever you think, fans spent a long time puzzling out precisely how this nihilistic, depressed and violent Dark Knight reached this point. And one of the most compelling pieces of evidence was the disfigured Robin suit on display in the Batcave in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, with “Hahaha Joke’s On You Batman” scrawled on it in yellow paint.
Fans will, of course, know that the DC Comics Bruce Wayne keeps a similar suit on display in his cave. This reminds him of the death of Jason Todd in the controversial story Death in the Family, in which the second person to take on the mantle of Robin was beaten to death with a crowbar by the Joker. The logical conclusion was that this scenario had happened in the DCEU, too, and was just one of many factors that’d driven Ben Affleck’s Batman to despair.
Today, though, we’ve been told that this is not Jason Todd’s Robin suit, after all. On the premiere Zack Snyder-based social media site Vero, the director was asked who Joker took from Batman that was important to him and he gave a one-word reply, which you can see below:
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Now, Richard is a reference to the original Robin, Dick Grayson (I’m guessing a one-word response of “Dick” might be misconstrued). Dick Grayson being killed by the Joker would be a huge deal for any version of Batman, and precisely the kind of thing that would cause him to become more ruthless, violent and eventually homicidal.
Now that Zack Snyder’s been given the boot from the DCEU – which doesn’t even exist anymore, after it was rebranded as Worlds of DC – it’s unlikely that we’ll see this narrative thread be directly explored in Matt Reeves’ The Batman, or, for that matter, in the much-delayed Nightwing (another superhero alter-ego of Dick Grayson). As such, this is just another sad reminder that Snyder had devised a fascinating sounding alternative DC universe to explore on screen, which has now been all but abandoned in the wake of Justice League‘s flop.