With production underway on HBO Max's Batgirl, fans are eager to see how it will connect to the DC Extended Universe's past while charting the future out. Michael Keaton returning as Batman instead of Ben Affleck may result in a streamlined universe after The Flash movie. Speculation already suspects this is why J.K. Simmons will be featured as Barbara's dad, with worlds colliding to form one reality akin to the Arrowverse. With that in mind, Batgirl could restore a lost part of the world Tim Burton mapped out if the time stream bends.
This involves none other than Robin, with a mural spotted on set depicting Keaton's Dark Knight, as well as a Boy Wonder. It could be Dick Grayson or maybe Jason Todd, which would tie into what Burton eyed years ago.
Early versions of Burton's first film featured a version of Dick with A Return to Salem's Lot actor Ricky Addison Reed cast in the movie. The idea was that during a scene where Batman was chasing after The Joker, the Clown Prince of Crime would have careened into a Flying Graysons' performance, accidentally killing Dick Grayson's parents and setting Dick up to take on the mantle someday. However, Burton eventually cut Dick from the film. Later, Robin appeared in drafts for 1992's Batman Returns with Marlon Wayans cast as the Boy Wonder. However, Robin was cut once again as Burton didn't want a crowded cast.
Still, DC has been publishing a comic continuation of Keaton's Dark Knight titled Batman '89 that finally gave the hero his own Robin: Drake Winston. As a Black teen, Drake seems to be the Robin Wayans was meant to play, especially as a social activist fighting to protect urban communities such as Burnside. Now, it could be that with space and time being affected in the DCEU, Bruce Wayne might have had a young white Robin, either before or after Drake.
The Flash would give Batgirl leeway to make adjustments, as the Flashpoint comic had a Barbara who was older and way different in terms of looks to Leslie Grace -- who's been cast as a younger version of Batgirl. Sure, they're both cops, but again, it feels like two totally different characters. As such, fans could finally get a classic version of the Bat and his sidekick, informing how Bruce warmed to the idea in an alternate take on Burton's reality.
Given Keaton's age and if he had the sidekick right after Batman Returns, this could also pave the way for Dick to have been acquainted with Barbara romantically, maybe even opening the door for that Nightwing film DC just couldn't get off the ground.
Christina Hodson, who penned Birds of Prey, is scripting Batgirl, so it remains to be seen what will be pulled from the comic, which Sam Hamm (who co-wrote Burton's movies) worked on. But ultimately, it feels like Bruce will be using his past with a partner to inform how he moves forward with a Batgirl trying to help keep Gotham safe.
Batgirl will premiere exclusively on HBO Max. The film does not yet have a release date.
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