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What Robin Almost Looked Like in Tim Burton's Batman Returns

By B. Alan Orange — September 20th, 2017

Tim Burton almost got to play with Robin. But he changed his mind and ditched that concept for his 1992 sequel Batman Returns. The movie was already stuffed with perhaps one too many characters, with the follow-up to 1989's blockbuster hit Batman introducing Penguin and Catwoman. While we wouldn't see Robin until 1995's Batman Forever, we now have an idea of what Tim Burton's Robin would have looked like.

Robin is an elusive character. When 1989's Batman was being produced, comic book fans warned that the character was too goofy for such a serious take on the material. And he was left on the sidelines. But Tim Burton toyed with introducing the character in his next movie. And thanks to Bart Sears Twitter, we have an idea what that may have looked like.

The movie brought Michael Keaton back as the caped crusader, and cast high profile actors Michelle Pfeiffer as the leather wearing Catwoman and Danny DeVito as the grotesque Oswald Cobblepot, who really gives Frank Reynolds a run for his money (though we think Frank wins in the gross out department). The movie didn't quite end up being what Warner Bros. had in mind. And it was deemed far too dark for McDonalds toy tie ins.

The movie was supposed to bring in Two-Face to fight against Batman and Robin. But those plans were scrapped midway through for a more streamlined story. But concept art of these characters was created before shooting began. And that's what we're seeing here today. The long lost sketch shows Robin taking flight over the crime ridden streets of Gotham City. Says comic book artist Bart Sears about the image.

"Throwback Thursday! Remember that Batman Returns project... this was before they told me the Boy Wonder wasn't in the movie."

Sears is a comic book artist, but he wasn't working on the comic book adaptation of the movie. That work went to Steve Erwin and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez. Sears was working on 'trace plates' for a children's activity book tie-in, which was started before Tim Burton decided to downsize his movie and its cast.

Marlon Wayans was long attached to play Dick Grayson in the Tim Burton movie and would have likely played the role had the filmmaker returned for the third proposed sequel, which eventually became Batman Forever. with Chris O'Donnell eventually playing the part. Wayan's interpretation of the character would have been introduced as a garage mechanic who wears a familiar looking R on his oversized work overalls. Marlon Wayans reportedly even made it to a costume fitting. Also absent from the sequel was a planned role for the return of Billy Dee Williams as Harvey Dent, who would have become Two-Face. Tommy Lee Jones actually got that honor in the Joel Schumacher follow-up.

The Bart Sears' version of Robin is much different than the rubber nipple wearing version that O'Donnell and Schumacher eventually went with. This would have been a much more dark and brooding boy wonder. If things had of gone as planned, this version of Robin would have had an underwater costume, to traverse the murky scum of Penguin's lair. That's what we're seeing in this image, which shows the scuba gear in effect.

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