The recently completed Batman 89 comic book series should continue and introduce a new version of the Riddler, but not the Robin Williams version that almost appeared in Tim Burton’s discontinued Batman Continues. Tim Burton’s Batman films are among the most influential in the superhero genre, so their continuation in comic form (and in an extensive timeline from Joel Schumacher’s Batman sequels) is more than welcome. While Batman 89 used the likeness of specific actors for its characters, it should avoid using the image of the late Robin Williams for The Riddler if it continues in another miniseries.
Written by Sam Hamm, the screenwriter of the 1989 Batman and the original Batman Returns storyline, Batman 89 is an alternative sequel to Burton’s controversial 1992 film, continuing the plot threads and character lines from the two films and adhering more closely to their visual and narrative style than Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. In addition to the return of Batman and Catwoman, who use the respective images of Michael Keaton and Michelle Pfeiffer, “Batman 89” also fulfills two unrealized character plans. Harvey Dent, who looks like Billy Dee Williams, becomes a Two-faced villain, and the original character named Drake Winston becomes Robin, using the image of Marlon Wayans, who almost played Robin in Batman Returns.
Related: Batman ’89 Just Killed Bruce Wayne’s Oldest Ally
In another Batman 89 miniseries, Sam Hamm and Joe Kinones should use another rejected Burton idea about Batman and make the Riddler their villain, but it should avoid the complex and problematic story behind the late Robin Williams, who almost became a cult villain. Williams had a bad experience working on “Batman” in 1989 and its second sequel: at one point he was considered for the role of the Joker, and later he was offered the role of the Riddler. Out of respect for Williams, another Batman 89 series should use the image of another frequent collaborator Tim Burton if he introduces a new version of the Riddler.
Warner Bros. From the very beginning, they wanted Jack Nicholson to play the role of the Joker in the first Batman movie, but Nicholson was initially not interested in accepting the studio’s offer. To seduce Nicholson, Warner Bros. falsely chose Robin Williams for the role of the clown prince of the underworld (a role he really wanted to play), which successfully convinced Nicholson to take on this role. This caused Williams to be justifiably angry with the WB. When Williams was actually offered the role of the Riddler in the third Batman movie, Williams reportedly declined, and Jim Carrey eventually took his place in what became Batman Forever.
In another Batman 89 series, Riddler seems the most likely and appropriate choice to confront Batman and Robin, but it would be disrespectful to the late Robin Williams to use his image after his experience with the WB. Since Batman 89 presents a new version of Barbara Gordon, using the image of Winona Ryder, who often collaborated with Tim Burton, a similar choice should be made for the Riddler, perhaps with the image of Timothy Spall or the late Alan Rickman. We hope Batman 89 will continue with Riddler as the next villain, but resuming the controversial treatment of Robin Williams using his license would be a bad choice.