Who Is Tim Drake and Why Should He Show Up in a Batman Movie?

Meet the Boy behind the comic book Wonder.
Chris Sprouse/DC Entertainment

It should be noted that, when Ryan Potter made a video essentially auditioning for the role of Robin in a big screen Batman movie, he chose a specific incarnation of DC Entertainment's Boy Wonder to personify — and that he chose Tim Drake in particular. Drake might not be the first of Batman's Robins, nor the current incarnation of the character (Those would be Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne, respectively), but he remains a fan-favorite for a very simple reason: of the many sidekicks Batman has had in his 75-plus year crime fighting career, Tim might have been the most prepared for the job.

Tim was created in 1989 by writer Marv Wolfman and artist Pat Broderick, and debuted in that year's Batman No. 436. He was, perhaps, both an unexpected and entirely predictable creation; the previous Robin, Jason Todd, had been killed off just a year prior after a phone poll had declared that readers would rather have seen him dead, but 1989 marked the 50th anniversary of the Batman mythology, and such occasions demand big events — such as ensuring that the Dark Knight once again has a teenage boy beside him to draw attention and potentially weapon fire in dangerous situations.

However, Tim Drake was a Robin unlike any other before him — lacking parental neglect (or, for that matter, dead parents), he volunteered for the role and proved his chops by initially working out Batman's secret identity, as well as that of the previous two Robins. From that starting point, he impressively managed to level up in subsequent appearances, with his first two solo outings seeing him deal with one of the DC comic book universe's most dangerous assassins (Lady Shiva) and the Joker, respectively.

As Robin, Tim was given the opportunity to spread his wings more than earlier Boy (or Girl) Wonders — he led both the "Young Justice" team and the Teen Titans for a number of years, and got to work as a solo superhero more than any previous Robin. More importantly, he was given a long-running comic book series all of his own, a privilege that had never been afforded his predecessors.

Throughout his existence, Tim has been increasingly built up both in terms of his capability as a superhero and personality. In a recent issue of Detective Comics, Batman describes the character by saying, "Tim Drake has the best tactical mind of any partner I've worked with." He's also been revealed to be an adept gymnast-turned-martial artist and a next-level hacker, because of course he has. He's gone from a humble genius-detective-next-door to being a moral authority that can, and has, stood up to other superheroes slipping into moral ambiguity, with an unwavering faith in doing the right thing no matter the cost.

Like Dick Grayson — another Robin allowed to grow in the role, unlike the others — Tim Drake was allowed to graduate from being Robin without tragedy. In 2009, he gave up being a sidekick to adopt the identity "Red Robin," which managed to achieve multiple aims: It linked the character to fan-favorite alternate-future series Kingdom Come, in which Drake appears as Red Robin, it freed up the Robin identity for Damian Wayne, and it finally opened the door for superheroes with the same name as a fast food franchise.

From the point of view of the DC Extended Universe, Ryan Potter made a smart choice: Tim Drake would also be an ideal Robin to include — it would follow the comic canon of his following a dead Robin (See Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad) and allow for the existence of an adult Dick Grayson elsewhere to be revealed in latter movies. But even though Tim might be the best Robin of them all, the question really is … does Ben Affleck's Batman seem like the kind of Caped Crusader who'd want any Robin helping out?

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