- "My brother's wire broke once and I swung out and grabbed him. My father said I was his hero. I flew in like a robin."
- ―Dick Grayson to Alfred Pennyworth.[src]
Dick was the youngest son of John and Mary. They were a team of acrobats who were called The Flying Graysons who worked in a circus along with his elder brother, Mitch. They went all across the world with the rest of the circus with their astounding acts.
While they were on tour in Gotham City, the Flying Graysons' show was interrupted by a psychopathic villain who was named Two-Face who, along with his Thugs, held the audience and entertainers hostage with an orb that hung from the top of the tent that was filled with two hundred sticks of TNT, and was controlled with a radio detonator that was set to go off in two minutes, but would disarm in exchange for Batman's life. Bruce Wayne, who was in attendance at the circus with Dr. Chase Meridian, tried to sacrifice himself, but due to the screaming of the terrified audience, Two-Face was unable to hear him.
The Graysons selflessly decided to help everyone by destroying the explosive device themselves. While Dick successfully disposed of the orb, Two-Face flipped his coin to decide the fate of Dick's family; and the coin landed on the scarred side. As a result, Two-Face shot apart one of the harnesses that kept the rest of Dick's family hanging, and caused them to fall down to the hard ground below, and they all died on impact.
Dick returned and was greatly heartbroken to see the corpses of his whole family. He never slept, spoke to anyone, or even ate because of that terrible tragedy and gained a great hatred for Two-Face.
Sometime later, Commissioner James Gordon took Dick to Wayne Manor where Bruce, who felt partly to blame for the murder of Dick's family, took him in, though Dick did not want to stay (for long, at least). Dick quickly struck up a friendship with Alfred Pennyworth. When Alfred brought up the image of a robin on Dick's motorcycle helmet, he told Alfred that he once saved his brother's life during circus practice after Mitchell's wire broke by swinging out and grabbing him ("I flew in like a robin."), and earned tremendous respect from his father who praised him as a hero. After he saw great potential in Dick as a crime fighter, Alfred assured Dick that "broken wings mend in time" and promised that "one day Robin will fly again".
After he accidently discovered the Batcave, Dick decided to go for a joyride in the Batmobile. He saved a teenage girl from a street gang, who had him outnumbered until Batman arrived. Dick was initially furious upon learning that Bruce was Batman and blamed him for his family's deaths. Later, Dick demanded that Bruce help him find Two-Face so that he could kill him. Bruce refused, and did not want Dick to end up like him; a loner. But Dick insisted on being involved.
When Batman was almost killed by Two-Face after the latter and his thugs crashed the NygmaTech business party, Dick (dressed in his circus outfit and wearing a mask) intervened and saved his life. Bruce, however, was angry with him for putting his own life at risk, and rejected his offer to join him as his partner in crime-fighting. When Bruce decided to give up being Batman in order to pursue a normal life with his girlfriend, Chase Meridian, Dick ran away before Chase was kidnapped by both Two-Face and the Riddler, and took his circus costume with him.
When Batman was on his way to rescue Chase and stop the two villains, Dick returned, wore a crime fighter's suit that was designed by Alfred, and became Batman's new partner, "Robin", in order to save her.
Upon arriving at the Riddler's fortress, Claw Island, Batman and Robin were separated and were forced to split up. Robin found Two-Face, viciously thrashed him in a vengeful rage, and sent him hanging over the edge of a cliff. Unable to take a life after he was bluffed by Two-Face, Robin pulled him back up with the intention of sending him to jail.
Two-Face responded by taking him at gunpoint to the Riddler. He was tied up, gagged with duct tape, and placed in a giant glass cylinder with Chase, in another cylinder, on the other side of the room.
Batman arrived and the Riddler gave him a choice to save Chase or Robin. Batman destroyed the Riddler's mind device, which warped the Riddler's mind in the process.
Before he collapsed, the Riddler made the lids of the two cylinders that held Robin and Chase open, and sent them down to the rocks and water below. Batman, however, saved them both, but Two-Face appeared, took aim at the three of them, and was about to shoot them. However, Batman reminded Two-Face about his coin and that he's always had two minds about everything. When Two-Face concurred with that and flipped his coin to decide their fate, Batman threw a handful of coins that were identical to his and Two-Face frantically tried to get all of them when he suddenly lost his balance and plummeted down to the spiky pit below, with his actual coin landing in the palm of his hand on the good side as he sank into the pit, dead. Robin stared at Two-Face as he fell to his death, and was satisfied that his family was avenged.
In the years that followed, Robin continued to serve as Batman's sidekick.
Dick became romantically entangled with Alfred's niece, Barbara Wilson, who later joined the crime fighting team under the alias Batgirl, but spends most of the film being hopelessly in love with Poison Ivy. Dick was deeply sorrowful when he learned that Alfred was dying from a rare disease that was called MacGregor's Syndrome.
Robin's relationship with Poison Ivy began when he and Batman first met her at a Charity Ball. Ivy made her grand entrance and began flirting with the two heroes and getting them with her pheromone dust. The two got into a bidding war for Poison Ivy, only being stopped when Mr. Freeze crashed the party. Freeze stole the Eye of Isisa, a necklace donated for charity, but before Robin followed Batman after him, he stared awestruck at Ivy, who noticed and blew a kiss at him.
Dick got into an argument with Bruce, after capturing Mr. Freeze. He accused him of not trusting in what he does, and wanting Poison Ivy for himself. Dick ignored Bruce's reply that he must follow his rules or he won't be a part of the team, and stormed off in anger.
Later, Robin and Batman learned that Ivy has helped Freeze escape Arkham and investigated his hideout. There, they were confronted by Ivy and her enforcer Bane. Poison Ivy ambushed Robin, and he tried to place her under arrest, but Ivy was unintimidated by The Boy Wonder. She once again blew her pheromone dust at the Boy Wonder and offered him a kiss, but they were interrupted when Bane tossed Batman down at them. Robin went off to confront Bane, leaving the Dark Knight with Ivy, but was easily overpowered and defeated by the brute. Poison Ivy failed to seduce Batman, but had more success with the inexperienced Robin. While Batman struggled with Bane, Ivy cornered and flirted with the Boy Wonder, convincing him he didn't need the Dark Knight and could be his own man. She wrapped the hero in a hug, telling him she could see his own "Robin-Signal" in the sky, and she could guide him. Now completely in love, Robin offered no resistance against Ivy and the two slowly leaned in for a kiss but were once again interrupted by Batman, who had defeated Bane.
Batman correctly guessed that Ivy had been trying to kiss them to poison them, remembering one victim at a airport. Robin however, blinded by love, thought Batman was jealous and that Poison Ivy loved him instead, so attacked Batman to defend her. He was easily overpowered by the Dark Knight though and thrown in a vat of ice cream, while Ivy made her escape when the duo was distracted. Batman pulled out his partner, but Robin declared their partnership over and that from now on he's going solo.
Poison Ivy later stole the Batsignal, and replaced it with a bird symbol, turning it into a "Robin-Signal". Robin saw this and remembered what Ivy told him. He knew it was from Ivy, calling him to her as a sign of love. Robin prepared to leave to meet Ivy, but Bruce stopped him. Dick still thought he was jealous that Ivy was calling for Robin as her true love, instead of Batman. Bruce begged him one more time to trust him about her and to listen, and claimed he was looking out for him as a family does.
The Boy Wonder later arrived at Poison Ivy's lair, the Turkish Bath House, and slowly made his way inside. As he went further in, the path behind him became blocked by vines. He reached the center of the lair, which contained a lily pond and a giant floral plant at the end which opened up to reveal Poison Ivy, looking more seductively beautiful than ever wearing a new red dress, a new hair style and using the plant as her throne. Robin was stunned by her reveal and beauty, and momentarily surprised when the entrance became blocked one last time, before turning around to face Ivy. She greeted Robin and he slowly made his way across the pond by walking on the lily pads, sitting next to Ivy. Robin said he loved Ivy and wanted them to be together, but asked for a sign of trust from her that she was really "turning over a new leaf". He ignored Ivy's flirts, and specifically asked for her to tell him her plan. She put a hand on his back and leaned forward, saying she'll tell him in exchange for a kiss first, but Robin flipped the offer, promising to kiss her if she tells him first. Ivy revealed Freeze's plan to freeze Gotham to Robin, and he quickly turned to leave to stop him.
Ivy grabbed Robin and pulled him back to face her, speaking gently to him: "One kiss, my love... for luck". Ivy gave a seductive smile and Robin silently submitted to her at last. Ivy gently placed a hand on the Boy Wonder's face and they both leaned forward, closing their eyes, with Robin missing the evil smirk Ivy had on her face. The two shared a romantic, passionate kiss at last, until Ivy broke the kiss. Ivy rubbed noses with the Boy Wonder and revealed her true nature to him in mock "sadness" while stroking his chin, telling him it's time to die. The Boy Wonder, however, revealed a surprise of his own: he was wearing rubber lips to protect himself from her poisonous kiss. Robin had played Ivy since he arrived, he pretended to still be blindingly in love with her to learn where her true allegiance was, the same way she pretended to love him. He tricked her into telling him her plan and once her guard was down had used their kiss as a test to see if her love to him was real, a test Ivy had just failed.
Ivy stared in shock at the rubber lip that ruined everything, then at The Boy Wonder she thought she had wrapped around her finger. She couldn't believe that Robin had tricked her and stole a kiss from her, and her shocked stare turns into an angry glare. She furiously leaped forward and shoved Robin off her throne and into the vine infested pond to drown him. Robin was quickly submerged by the vines and struggled to stay above water for air. As he struggled, Ivy walked away from her throne, stopping only to wave bye to Robin and mockingly taunted him by saying "see ya!" just to rub in that she was "breaking up with him", officially ending their relationship. However, Robin managed to cut himself free of the vines and Poison Ivy was quickly defeated by Batgirl, knocked back onto the throne they had just been sharing and she had shoved him from. The throne closed on Ivy after she was knocked onto it, trapping her in the symbol of her and Robin's false love. Batman and Robin left to stop Freeze with Batgirl, and the Boy Wonder left Poison Ivy and his feelings for her behind in her lair.
In the end, Robin stayed on Batman's team, and together, they defeated Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, and Bane, and also obtained the cure for Alfred's condition from Freeze in the process, who offered it to them out of gratitude for revealing to him that it was Ivy, not Batman, who tried to kill his wife, and that they had found and restored her. Bruce and Dick's trust in one another was finally restored, their bond grew stronger, and they became family. With Barbara as a member of the team, the Terrific Trio continued to protect Gotham from crime.
- Batman Forever
- Batman & Robin
Behind the Scenes
- Both Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Wahlberg were considered for the role of Robin for Batman Forever.
- Dick's Robin costume in Batman & Robin bore similarities to the comic's current Nightwing costume with an added cape. Dick Grayson even considered "Nightwing" as his possible "sidekick name" in Batman Forever.
- Child actor Ricky Addison Reed was cast as Dick Grayson in the first film. The Joker killed the flying Graysons during a chase scene in the script. Dick immediately attempts to avenge his parents by leaping onto the Joker Van, Batman convinces Joker to spare his life. DC Comics held a poll to kill off the current Robin Jason Todd, to help convince the studio that Batman didn't need Robin. When streamlining the script for budget the Robin action scene was dropped. Burton had a strong dislike of the character and fought against it every step of the way. Screenwriter Sam Hamm admitted it was not easy to fit him in the story and style they had laid out. Robin had featured heavily in the previous scripts by Tom Mankiewicz and Steve Englehart.
- Robin appeared in various scripts of Batman II once again at WB's insistence. A not produced script featured Robin as a homeless prepubescent vigilante, who became an ally to Batman. He was the leader of a juvenile gang, who beat people up, and he eventually had a "hard-edged" relationship with Batman, who then took him in as his costumed sidekick. During this time, a new Robin, Tim Drake was created apparently because people still thought Batman needed Robin. DC Comics was left with a dilemma on how change the Robin costume to make it work in a movie, according to Neal Adams who designed Drake's new costume. The character was later changed to an unnamed teenage garage mechanic, who worked in an auto shop garage. He was to supposed fix the Batmobile after the Penguin wrecked it. According to the screenplay by Daniel Waters, he wore an old-fashioned garage mechanic uniform with an 'R' on it. There was a scene where he drove the Batmobile, which was used in the third film. He even helped Batman out of a jam. Marlon Wayans was cast, and signed for a sequel. By the the time Wesley Strick replaced Waters as screenwriter, many elements of the script were scaled back for budget at the last minute. At no point in the story was was the new Wayans character going to wear a superhero costume. However, an action figure of Robin in the Neal Adams costume was still released in the Kenner Returns toyline. Curiously, it featured a flattop hairstyle.
- The Dark Knight Revised - Comics Scene #14
- Neal Adams: Renaissance Man Part IV, by Rik Offenberger, via WayBack Machine - ComicsBulletin.com