(Left) Ryan Potter at the end of the video featuring himself as Robin.
(Left) Ryan Potter at the end of the video featuring himself as Robin.

Ryan Potter is the Robin we need and deserve

It’s no secret to anyone who is fan of Ryan Potter, formerly of Nickelodeon’s “Supah Ninjas” and the voice of Hiro Hamada in “Big Hero 6,” that he has been interested in the role of Tim Drake, also known as Robin, in Ben Affleck’s solo Batman movie for a while now. On Sept. 10, Potter released a 50-second video, made with a few friends in under four hours, of what he would look like as Robin to Affleck’s Bruce Wayne.

Despite being made in a limited time frame, Potter is impressive, showing off his martial arts training and using Tim Drake’s bo-staff, which is important to the character’s fighting style. He ends the video by looking into the camera and addressing Affleck directly saying, “Batman needs a Robin.”

At this point, it is unclear whether Potter will get the role. He has posted some vague tweets but other than that nothing has been confirmed. That aside, Potter clearly has the talent. His martial arts expertise and his cheeky into-the-camera ending show that he would be a charming addition to the so-far dour DC Extended Universe. However, based on some of the comments on the video, some people don’t want Potter specifically to be Robin, and the reason is one they state plainly: he’s a man of color.

Potter is half-Asian, the son of a Japanese father and an American mother. He has stated that one of the reasons he is fighting for the role is the fact that Asian actors are rarely given a chance to shine. He is definitely not wrong. The upcoming “Ghost in the Shell”, an adaption of a Japanese manga, has a majorly white cast, led by Scarlett Johansson as Motoko Kusanagi. The upcoming Marvel movie “Doctor Strange” has whitewashed or sidelined many Asian characters and actors. As well, lots of people remember the obviously whitewashed cast of the abysmal “The Last Airbender.”

Having an Asian-American Robin would certainly start a conversation and make strides. Not only that but Potter has proven himself. Why shouldn’t he get the role? He’s a clearly talented young man with the fighting style and personality that matches the character of Tim Drake. He has gone to great lengths to show that he would be a good choice for the part. He’s not fooling around. Him being half-Asian should mean nothing.

Potter has said that he wanted to start a conversation with the video, and he has certainly done that. People are on both sides of the spectrum. Some people have outright said they don’t want an Asian Robin, others think he looks just like the character in the comics and would love him for the part. I’m on the side of wanting him for the part. Not just for the diversity but also for how much commitment Potter has put into fighting for this role.

Even if Potter doesn’t become Robin, I hope the video has put him in the public eye enough to get better oppurtunities in the future. I’m crossing my fingers.

Here’s a link to an article by the Hollywood Reporter, where they talk to Potter about the video and his reasons for making it. The Robin video is also included in the article.

Watch Potter’s Robin video on YouTube here.


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