No superhero in the history of comic book fiction has made the position of “sidekick” a more honorable distinction than Robin, who has remained a constant of the BatFamily no matter who is behind the mask. The average consumer of superhero movies may only recognize the Boy Wonder as Dick Grayson - a young orphan whom Bruce Wayne would take in and train to become his first costumed ally - mainly because the DC movies often tend to favor him over subsequent iterations. However, the man who would be Nightwing is not the only name you will see on the following list of our favorite versions of Robin featured in Batman movies and TV shows, starting with one who would become many audiences' first Robin.
Burt Ward As Dick Grayson On Batman
Holy obvious choice, Batman! The definitive depiction of the Caped Crusader has changed dramatically since the late Adam West played him on the campy, classic series Batman, but many aspects of Burt Ward’s performance as Bruce Wayne’s young ward remain standard to the character to this day. From his sharp perception, impeccable fighting skills, and loyalty to his parter in crimefighting, the ‘60s-era Robin is everything that a superhero would want in a sidekick.
Loren Lester As Dick Grayson On Batman: The Animated Series
The iteration of Dick Grayson first introduced in 1992 on Batman: The Animated Series (and played by veteran voice actor Loren Lester) is, essentially, the embodiment of everything that made Burt Ward’s portrayal great, but with a deeper darkness and sharper wit that was missing. By the time the Emmy-winning animated DC TV show was rebranded as The New Batman Adventures, Dick would hang up the Robin mantle to become Nightwing, allowing another ambitious, young vigilante to take his spot.
Matthew Valencia As Tim Drake On The New Batman Adventures
DC Comics’ second Robin was Jason Todd, whose tragic storyline was darker than what Bruce Timm and co. could explore on The New Batman Adventures, leading to Matthew Valencia’s casting as Tim Drake. Yet another orphan taken in by Bruce Wayne (voiced by Kevin Conroy), what memorably sets Drake apart from Dick Grayson in the Timmverse is his more rebellious approach to fighting crime under the discipline of Batman, who originally had no intention of training the boy. He also sports a more charmingly boyish quality than Grayson did… in this continuity, at first.
Scott Menville As Dick Grayson On Teen Titans
While his true name is never spoken on the early-to-mid-2000s animated series, it is largely suggested that Robin in Teen Titans is Dick Grayson, but a thorough reinvention of the character nonetheless. In fact, the leader of the titular crew of young heroes voiced by Scott Menville (who would also reprise the character in Teen Titans Go! and Teen Titans Go! to the Movies) almost bears a stronger resemblance to another Robin: Bruce Wayne’s son Damian Wayne, with his one-man army resilience and more stubborn and brooding personality. It is also a stark contrast from his next animated, small-screen iteration.
Jesse McCartney As Dick Grayson On Young Justice
Essentially a reboot of Teen Titans (or, at least, a far more earnest one than Teen Titans Go!), Young Justice - which is now an HBO Max exclusive - once again follows a team of younger DC characters led by Dick Grayson (this time voiced by actor and pop star Jesse McCartney). At first, the former sidekick to Batman boasts a slightly more relaxed and child-like disposition when not in serious hero mode, which would become more of his default when he drops the Robin mantle to become Nightwing. I actually tend to prefer Grayson as his post-Robin persona, which is why the Season 2 finale of Titans was so satisfying.
Brenton Thwaites As Dick Grayson On Titans
Essentially a live-action reboot of Teen Titans (or Young Justice, more so), Titans - which also streams exclusively on HBO Max now - once again follows a team of younger DC characters led by Dick Grayson (this time played by Australian actor Brenton Thwaites). This series actually caused an uproar before it even premiered with Robin confirming he no longer works with the Dark Knight by replying to a group of criminals’ question about his whereabouts with “Fuck Batman” in the trailer, signaling that this show would be fully embracing the Boy Wonder’s dark side. That darkness comes through even better when Grayson become Nightwing (the first official live-action depiction of the moniker), which is why I can understand how some might prefer a lighter take on Robin.
Michael Cera As Dick Grayson In The LEGO Batman Movie
Well, you will certainly not find a lighter take on Robin than in one of the lightest takes on Batman lore ever produced (but in the most appropriate and passionately executed fashion). Michael Cera of Superbad and the Arrested Development cast voices a young Dick Grayson, opposite Will Arnett’s Bruce Wayne, in 2017’s The LEGO Batman Movie, which brilliantly pokes fun at their infamously rocky relationship. Cera’s Robin is a relentless ball of energy whose loyalty to Batman as a crimefighter is fueled by his longing to be accepted as his son, too.
Ariel Winter As Carrie Kelley In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
It was not until Frank Miller’s groundbreaking reinvention of the Caped Crusader in his 1986 graphic novel Batman: The Dark Knight Returns that a father-daughter (or even grandfather-granddaughter) dynamic was applied to Batman’s relationship with Robin with the introduction of Carrie Kelley. Longing to escape her meager existence, the poor, young Gothamite dons a store-bought Robin costume and joins an aging Bruce Wayne in his most dire and controversial war against crime yet. An animated adaptation of the story was released in two-parts in 2012 and 2013 with Ariel Winter of the Modern Family cast voicing the role so well, you may wish she had her own spin-off.
Chris O’Donnell As Dick Grayson In Batman Forever
I will be honest: I was initially hesitant to include Chris O’Donnell’s portrayal of the Boy Wonder in 1995’s Batman Forever, particularly because the actor was obviously not a boy when it came out. However, the Joel Schumacher-directed sequel deserves points for an otherwise accurate depiction of Robin’s core motivation (the death of his family) and his and Batman’s conflicting personalities. Hell, even 1997’s Batman & Robin sheds light on Dick Grayson’s struggle to fully earn Bruce Wayne’s trust as an equal pretty well.
People have been debating for years over the strengths and weaknesses of all the Batman actors so far, but one thing most fans seem to agree on is that we have rarely seen a bad depiction of Robin on screen. It seems to me that he deserves to follow in Batgirl’s footsteps and get his own movie one day. Speaking of, check out our picks for the best Batgirl depictions in movies and on TV, next!
Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.
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