If you’re familiar with Batman, you probably know that what led Bruce Wayne on the path to vigilantism was the death of his parents, and if you didn’t know this, well...you’re not a true fan of Batman. This aspect of the origin has been repeatedly adapted in multiple Batman projects, and audiences will once again be treated to their murder at the hands of a criminal in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Batman has been around for 75 years, and both kids and adults are well-aware of this tragic event. Heck, viewers just saw the death on Gotham several months ago. This event has seen so many times that many Batman parodies include a typical line about how his parents were shot. There’s no need to retread it outside of a couple lines of dialogue. If the filmmakers are looking to explore a tragic death from the Batman lore, they should cover one that happens well into Batman’s career: Jason Todd.
For those unfamiliar, in the comics, Jason Todd is the second Robin, succeeding Dick Grayson after he becomes Nightwing. While Jason was Batman’s partner for several years, he’s most well-known for being beaten to death by The Joker. Batman felt guilty over not being able to stop Jason’s death, and while he eventually took on new partners, the guilt weighed heavily on him. In 2005, Todd was resurrected, and since then he has been an antihero in the DC universe, clashing and occasionally teaming up with his former mentor.
The Batman we see in Batman V Superman will be a grizzled, seasoned vigilante who has been fighting crime in Gotham City for years. While it hasn’t been confirmed whether we will be seeing a female Robin working alongside him, there’s a good chance that he’s had several partners during his career, and since The Dark Knight Returns is one of the primary inspirations for the film, Dick and Jason will have been the only past Robins. It’s easy enough to explain that Dick became Nightwing, but it needs to be addressed that Jason was killed in the line of duty, whether at the hands of Joker or another villain. Showing how devastating Jason’s death was to Bruce would give the audience an idea of how this Batman is motivated by his past mistakes, which may have also led him to pushing away his allies so that they wouldn’t get hurt.
However, acknowledging Jason’s death wouldn’t serve merely as a character introspective for Bruce. It could also hint at future events. Similar to the 2010 animated film Batman: Under the Red Hood, the first Batman solo film in the DCCU could feature Jason returning from the dead, only this time, he’ll be an adversary to the Caped Crusader. Not only will Bruce have to deal with his once-dead sidekick suddenly being alive, but he’ll be forced to do whatever it takes to stop Jason from hurting others as The Red Hood. The teacher will have to face the student, only this time the student isn’t burdened by Batman’s rules.
Bruce Wayne can never truly move past the death of his parents, but there’s no need for the movie to show us this event again. Batman has been negatively affected by other events in his long tenure as Gotham City’s Dark Knight. Including Jason Todd’s death would not only add another layer of tragedy to the character, but it would also give viewers not familiar with the comic book something new to see. It can be one of the driving forces that motivates Batman’s actions in the DCCU, and depending on what direction they choose to go with the character, they can eventually follow up on the former sidekick when the solo film is released. Batman is one of the most popular fictional characters of all time, so if Warner Bros and DC want to bring something new to the table, they should move past the demise of Thomas and Martha Wayne and delve into Jason Todd. That story is begging to be told!