You have to hand it to Batman: he’s making headlines without having to get out of bed these days. As the rumor mill surrounding his next big screen appearance in Batman vs. Superman runs at full capacity, the most recent gossip has hinted that Dick Grayson, Batman’s former sidekick Robin, would appear in the film in his Nightwing persona – and that Warner Bros. is already casting.
It seems that during all that excitement, TV fans might have overlooked the hints that Nightwing would first be making his debut in The CW’s Arrow. The Vampire Diaries‘ Steven R. McQueen has been implying that’s the role he’s after, and the network may have already agreed. But would this casting mean that the Green Arrow series isn’t in the Justice League universe after all?
Although official word Warner Bros. hasn’t been released on either casting process (or even confirmation), McQueen took to his Twitter account to playfully tease a Grayson-connection during one of his workout sessions:
Lifting weights while bearing a superhero’s insignia is nothing new, but the fact that the actor linked the Tweet to the accounts of the Arrow showrunners was suspicious. The playful replies from Greg Berlanti seemed to hint that even if McQueen was simply teasing his fans while showing his love for DC Comics, more was going on behind the scenes.
Then came the following Tweet just yesterday:
Had some superhero conversations with the executives this weekend @ARROWwriters— Steven McQueen (@McQueeninchains) November 11, 2013
The obvious question on every DC fan’s mind: has Steven R. McQueen revealed that he is at least in talks with the Arrow showrunners to bring Dick Grayson to life on the small screen?
We wouldn’t be too surprised if that were the case, given the number of times that the city of Bludhaven has been mentioned offhand by numerous characters (for those unfamiliar with the comics, Bludhaven was adopted early on as Dick Grayson’s stomping grounds). But given Grayson’s tutelage under Batman – a character noticeably absent from Arrow thus far – what are the writers up to?
There’s no question that Nightwing is a perfect fit for Arrow‘s grounded approach to DC’s catalogue of heroes and villains; arguably a far better fit than many that have made their way onto the show already, and much easier to grasp than the injection of superspeed on its way. But if the character is simultaneously being cast for both the TV show and the motion picture, would the question of whether they take place in the same universe be answered (much to fans’ disappointment) with a resounding ‘No’?
It’s possible that fans may put a little too much stock in the idea that every property featuring a DC character MUST take place in a shared universe – take a look in any comic shop, and you’ll see a handful of concurrent storylines starring the same hero. When word that a Flash TV series first broke, the implication was that the studio’s plans for a big screen adventure hadn’t been affected in the slightest. And although Grant Gustin may be dedicated to doing Barry Allen justice, it’s still hard to believe WB would toss him into a movie alongside Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck.
In the case of Nightwing, there might not be cause for alarm just yet. Fellow Bat-family member Huntress has already played a recurring role on Arrow, bearing little connection, if any, to the Batman mythology. It’s just as likely that McQueen could be brought into the fold for his iconic costume and acrobatic fighting style, with the showrunner valuing the ratings bump over the ramifications of relegating Robin to a cameo.
If the role is small enough, fans will have forgotten about it entirely by the time Batman vs. Superman rolls around (and possibly gotten a well-realized appetizer in the meantime). And if we’re being completely honest, it might even be a chance for some synergy. As long as Zack Snyder ended up casting CW star Jared Padalecki as Nightwing – as we’ve recommended – they could get away with simply saying he’s aged since his appearance in Starling City.
Since the presence of Nightwing in Batman vs. Superman is still unconfirmed, there is time left for fans to hope for total DC universe overlap. But if McQueen lands the role on TV, and Grayson will play a role in Snyder’s (or Affleck’s, for that matter) plans for the future, then all the Green Lantern talk, and star Stephen Amell’s Justice League hopes could be dashed.
What do you think of the possible casting? Is McQueen a good fit for either TV or film as well? And do you think Warner Bros. will paint themselves into a corner by casting both, or will fans easily overlook the inconsistency if Amell is confirmed to appear alongside Batman and Nightwing? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Arrow airs Wednesday @8pm on The CW.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.