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While Batman has had plenty of opportunities to shine on the big screen over the decades, his sidekicks/partners haven't fared nearly as well. Batman Forever introduced Robin, while Batman & Robin also threw Batgirl into the mix, but many will agree those movies aren't exactly bright spots in Batman media history (to put it extremely lightly). The Dark Knight trilogy favored Batman working alone when it came to busting heads on the streets. That brings us to the DC Extended Universe, where Batman has been active for over 20 years and has had at least one sidekick during the period. Ben Affleck's solo Batman movie is on the way, and while we certainly don't want the focus diverted from the big man himself, DC would be wise to include some, if not all, of the primary Bat-Family members in it.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice established that there has been at least one Robin in the DCEU, but sadly, he was killed by The Joker. While neither Warner Bros or DC have outright said who wore that costume, it's been strongly implied that the deceased Boy Wonder is Jason Todd, just like in the comics. That would mean Dick Grayson has already been Robin, and by now has embraced being Nightwing. Then there's the Oracle Easter Egg on Bruce Wayne's computer screen hinting at Barbara Gordon's existence, whether she's still wearing the Batgirl costume or confined to a wheelchair. This is a Batman who has built a solid foundation of history and legacy, and to simply limit these characters to a mention here and there would be a missed opportunity. Moviegoers, especially those not familiar with the comics, need to meet some of the allies he had in his war on crime from before he met the other Justice Leaguers.
The easiest way to pull this off would be throwing Nightwing into the mix. Aside from Alfred, Dick Grayson has been part of Batman's mission the longest, and many casual viewers are already familiar with him. After spending years establishing himself as Bludhaven's protector, Dick could return to Gotham City either to finally patch things up with Bruce or because he's called in for backup when Bruce Wayne has no one else to turn to. Still, why should this movie limit itself to just one partner? Maybe Bruce can draw Barbara out of retirement, be it as Batgirl or, if she's been paralyzed by The Joker, to use her computer skills behind the scenes as Oracle. Then there's the matter of a third Robin possibly entering the fray. Sure, Batman still feels guilty about Jason's death, but maybe he's finally reached a point where he's ready to take another wayward youth under his wing. Just like in the main DC continuity, Tim Drake would be the likeliest candidate to inherit the Robin mantle, although if Ben Affleck takes inspiration from The Dark Knight Returns, it could be Carrie Kelley.
Whichever members of the Bat-Family they decide to use in the Batman movie, it's by no means impossible to use these characters as players in a terrific Dark Knight story. Think of the Batman: Arkham video games. They managed to incorporate some Bat-Family members into the main story or side missions, but the Caped Crusader remained the focus. There's no reason the movie can't do the same. The primary conflict would still be between him and Deathstroke, but there are enough complications that he needs to bring in other members of the "family." Also keep in mind that the Bat-Family can expand even further in sequels. Depending on how long the DCEU lasts, fans could see more obscure characters like Batwoman, Spoiler and Batwing introduced, but for now, Nightwing, another Robin and Batgirl should be the priorities. Whatever ends up happening, we can't let Batman & Robin be the last live action movie to feature Batman fighting alongside his fellow, costumed Gotham City vigilantes. That's just not right!
Which of Bruce Wayne's sidekicks/partners do you think the next Batman movie should include? Let us know in the comments below.