Though there have been several movies and TV series centered around DC Comics’ dark knight superhero Batman, Robin the boy wonder has rarely been given the spotlight. If plans for a new CW series work out, that’s about to change.
Robin first appeared in Detective Comics in 1940. According to Batman comic book lore, Dick Grayson performed with his parents as part of The Flying Graysons, a family of acrobats. When Dick’s parents are killed by a gangster who’d been trying to extort money from the circus’ owner, Bruce Wayne sees a kindred spirit in the boy and becomes his mentor. Eventually Dick grows to adulthood, becomes an independent hero (Nightwing) and Batman takes on a few other Robin sidekicks.
Batman and Robin appeared in movie serials in the 1940s and Batman occasionally popped up on The Adventures of Superman radio show. The caped crusaders were brought to television in the 1966 Batman live-action series, starring Adam West and Burt Ward.
After that, the Batman characters became a fixture of TV animation for many years and have been featured in a dozen incarnations. The Batman movie franchise of the ’80s and ’90s included Robin (Chris O’Donnell) in the last two movies. The newest Batman movies have not included Robin and, if comments from star Christian Bale are to be believed, they aren’t likely to in the future. This may be the reason why the CW wants to give the character his own prequel series.
The CW network is currently preparing a new TV series pilot called The Graysons. The live-action project will focus on Dick Grayson’s life prior to becoming the caped crusader’s costumed sidekick. It will be executive produced by Supernatural’s McG and Peter Johnson and Smallville’s Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson. Variety reports that Graysons is being eyed as a potential replacement for Smallville which is likely to end this season. If Smallville does continue for a ninth year, the pre-Robin series would make a strong companion on the schedule.
Smallville showrunners Souders and Peterson have reportedly come up with a new take on the character but aren’t saying much more than that. We do know that Graysons will be set in current times and will follow young “DJ” Grayson as he faces some typical youth challenges like early romances, rivalries, and family issues.
While the network has only committed to a pilot thus far, there would reportedly be penalties to pay if the CW doesn’t greenlight it to series.
If the show’s creators follow comics history, DJ wouldn’t meet Batman until after his parents are killed. Producers had long wanted to feature a young Bruce Wayne on Smallville but copyright issues related to the movies have prevented them from doing so. This doesn’t close the door to possible appearances by Batman-related characters or even some that began on Smallville.