Marlon Wayans debuts as Robin in ‘Batman 89’

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Robin,the Boy Wonder, is set to make his debut in the first issue of the comic book series “Batman ‘89.” Initially, Dick Grayson was initially going to be portrayed by actor Marlon Wayans (“The Wayans, Scary Movie,” and “G.I. Joe Rise of Cobra”) in director Tim Burton’s Batman films. 

Comic revival of the film, which was rooted in realism with gothic undertones, will not be a continuation of the 1989 film. The series will serve as an alternate continuity that is using the scrapped ideas Burton had for his films which include this version of Robin. 

On July 7, “Batman 89” artist Joe Quinones revealed the drawing of Marlon Wayans as Robin on Twitter. The drawing shows  Batman’s fateful sidekick donning the iconic red, yellow, and green colors of the Boy Wonder. However, there is one difference from the traditional Robin costume: the mask. The mask is not a domino mask; it is a yellow face mask. He also wears a green and yellow hood. 

According to an article from Cinemablend, “Batman”(1989), Burton wanted to cast Marlon Wayans as Grayson in the 1992 film “Batman Returns,” in which the sidekick would team up with Batman, portrayed by Michael Keaton. However, the role of Robin was cut from the film due to the storyline being crowded with too many characters. “Batman Returns” (1992) had origin stories of Catwoman, portrayed by Michelle Pfieffer, and the Penguin, portrayed by Danny DeVito. However, Burton was determined to cast Wayans as the trusty sidekick in what would have been his third film titled “Batman Continues.” 

The Cinemablend article also mentioned that “Batman Continues” would have been the debut for Wayans to portray Robin. In addition, Pfieffer’s Catwoman would have returned, and Harvey Dent, portrayed by Billy Dee Williams in the previous Burton films, would have also returned and become the villain Two-Face. Furthermore, Keaton would return as the Dark Knight of Gotham City.  

However, an unexpected enemy, much more sinister than the Joker, would torpedo Burton’s chances of creating a third Batman film: the McDonalds Happy Meal.

An article from WhatCulture, McDonalds found the “Batman Returns” film very dark and monstrous. The article mentioned a quote from Burton saying how he “upset McDonald’s. [They asked] ‘What’s that black stuff coming out of the Penguin’s mouth. We can’t sell Happy Meals with that!”

The fallout from the McDonalds debacle would result in Burton being dropped as director and replaced with Joel Schumacher. The film would be renamed “Batman Forever.” In addition, Wayans would be dropped from the Robin role, and Burton’s vision of the film would be scrapped. Furthermore, “Batman Forever” would have Val Kilmer cast Batman with Tommy Lee Jones portraying Two-Face and Jim Carrey portraying The Riddler. 

However, Wayans would not go out empty-handed. The Cinemablend article also reported that he was paid $100,000 since he had already been cast. 

In an interview with i09 (now merged with the media company Gizmodo), Wayans talked about being cast as Robin and paid for the role. “I was actually supposed to play Robin, in ‘Batman Returns,’ about 15 years ago. But there was too many characters. I was cast, I was paid and everything. I still get residual checks. Tim Burton didn’t wind up doing three, Joel Schumacher did it and he had a different vision for who Robin was. So he hired Chris O’ Donnell.”

In addition, Chris O’Donnell would also portray Robin in the 1997 film  “Batman & Robin” while George Clooney would replace Kilmer as Batman.  

According to an article from Screen Rant, which mentioned the Robin reveal, writer Ben Rolph wrote that the “Batman ‘89” is “one of the best things about DC Comics picking up Joe Quinones and Sam Hamm’s series is that so many of Burton’s benched concepts are being revived and retooled to fit into the comic book world.”

In addition, readers will see Billy Dee Williams make his debut as Two-Face in “Batman ‘89.” The same issue will get to see Wayans’ version of Robin come to life in the pages of “Batman ‘89 no. 1” 

“Batman 89” will be out on July 27 as a digital-first series written by Sam Hamm and illustrated by Joe Quinones on digital reading platforms.

Are you  excited about seeing Marlon Wayans as Robin in “Batman ‘89?” Please share your comments below! 

Brian Adigwu

Brian of Earth-16 is a podcaster for the Geek Talk with Brian of Earth-16 and a contributing writer/journalist for the Daily Planet. You can also hear Brian on the DC Comics Geeks Nation podcast. When not writing, Brian enjoys going to the world of comic books, TV shows, video games, and pro-wrestling. He also loves listening to other podcasts and having a philosophical conversation.

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