Batman needs a Robin. If you're a fan of DC Comics, that's a commandment that you have become incredibly familiar with over the years as you have followed Batman's adventures. The DCEU has thus far hinted at the presence of The Boy Wonder, but no actors have actually been shown in the part. However, Joe Manganiello recently made waves when he playfully suggested that Anna Kendrick could step into the role of Batman's trusty sidekick. It's a major creative decision that I think, while certainly polarizing, could work as long as the folks behind the Batman solo movie remember one very important thing: Robin isn't just one person, it's a mantle with a wealth of history behind it.
The events of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice firmly established that Ben Affleck's Batman maintains a deep-seated sense of guilt over the death of Jason Todd. That guilt has turned him into a cruel, ruthless vigilante with no qualms about pushing his tactics to the extreme. This seems to indicate that (much like in the comics) Batman will soon enlist the help of a brand new Robin to help him cope with his mounting survivor's guilt. If that's the case, then the Batman solo movie will delve heavily into themes of legacy as they pertain to Robin, and for Anna Kendrick's casting to work (should it ever happen), I want to see a thorough exploration of the history of the character. Show us how Dick Grayson was perfectly suite for the role before growing into Nightwing. Show us how Jason Todd was brash, angry, and ill prepared for the role -- and how that lack of preparation got him killed. Finally, show us how Anna Kendrick's version of the sidekick provides the things that Bruce needs at this given moment in his life to move forward as a hero.
That's the beauty of Robin; every single version of the character has brought something different to the table. Dick Grayson had physical prowess, Jason Todd had rage, Tim Drake had raw intelligence, and the list goes on from there. Anna Kendrick's Robin can work, as long as the film carves out a unique rationale for why her character should become Robin, and acknowledges the legacy that exists within that domino mask. Many members of the mainstream audience don't know that there have been multiple versions of the character, and that's something that needs to be firmly established for the story to work.
It's also worth recognizing the fact that Robin is no longer a mantle that's exclusive to male characters. While men are more commonly associated with the title, no less than two female characters (Stephanie Brown and Carrie Kelly) have taken up the role of Robin in the pages of DC Comics. Casting Anna Kendrick as Robin in the Batman solo movie would be a seriously bold creative move, but it wouldn't be one that lacks precedent in the source material. After all, The Bat Family is an incredibly diverse ensemble of heroes, and that's worthy of representation.
Aside from those arguments, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge one very important thing about Anna Kendrick: she's a dead ringer for Frank Miller Robin, Carrie Kelly. Sure, she's considerably older than Carrie is in the comics, but Kendrick still maintains the sort of spunk, sense of humor, and physical attributes that make her a perfect choice to inhabit the role. The DCEU's Batman has already borrowed liberally from Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns for its take on Bruce Wayne, so bringing in Anna Kendrick as the red-headed Robin (albeit an older version) makes plenty of sense for the franchise. She's the light to Bruce's darkness.
What are your thoughts on this issue? Do you think that Anna Kendrick could make a good Robin? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!