There’s no question that Batman is going to be crashing Superman’s big screen party in Batman vs. Superman – and it seems he won’t be coming alone. Claims that Wonder Woman will round out the trio (and that there’s already a casting shortlist) persist, but the latest rumors promise a surprise appearance by Dick Grayson a.k.a. Robin a.k.a. Nightwing as well.
Whether these character will appear in their superhero personas in this film or Warner Bros. is simply laying the groundwork for future standalone franchises isn’t yet clear. But with a frontrunner for the role of Grayson apparently emerging, our minds are already racing.
Here are our picks for 5 Actors Who Could Play Nightwing in Batman vs. Superman.
Matt Long has already made an appearance in a comic book adaptation (playing a young Johnny Blaze in Ghost Rider), but we’re as happy to forget that as he surely is. Since then, he’s made frequent appearances as a journeyman TV actor. From Private Practice to Lucky 7, Long has found plenty of female fans along the way.
How well the actor would fit Snyder’s planned take on an older Robin/Nightwing depends on the overall tone sought for Ben Affleck’s Batman. We know this dark knight will be older and more battle-hardened, and if that’s the case, a Dick Grayson who’s happy to lighten the mood from time to time makes perfect sense.
Long’s signature aloof personality would cover those bases well, without straying too far into a ‘jokester.’ Comic book fans know that Dick Grayson is a complicated character – being raised under Bruce Wayne’s wing, but certainly not in his image – but we’re confident Long could pull it off.
It’s been more than a few years since Josh Hartnett was headlining a romantic comedy, and his heartthrob days are sure to have earned him some critics, especially among a male audience (we could’ve said the same about Heath Ledger, it’s worth mentioning). That being said, his talents were enough to make a cameo role in one of the more memorable and stylish story threads in Sin City.
Without a single role or genre that’s easily applicable to Hartnett, a major franchise role would make more sense than other actors at the top of their game. And having starred alongside Harrison Ford (Hollywood Homicide), Morgan Freeman and Sir Ben Kingsley (Lucky Number Slevin), we’re confident he would seem comfortable sharing the screen with Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill.
Since that’s one of the larger challenges awaiting whoever lands the role, we’d give him a serious edge.
After splashing onto the Hollywood scene in his co-starring role as Tom Hanks’ son in Road to Perdition, Tyler Hoechlin’s career has likely been missed by many blockbuster movie fans. But with looks that are admittedly hard to forget, and one of the anchors of MTV’s surprisingly good Teen Wolf, Hoechlin’s name was one of the most supported when a new Batman was being cast.
Snyder turned out be looking for a much older Wayne, but while that eliminated Hoechlin from the running, it also means he’s a much better fit for Dick Grayson. He’s got the size and build required (put on regular display in his ongoing werewolf role), and at 26, straddles the line between a younger or older Grayson.
If Snyder intends to use Grayson as a foil to Wayne, then casting an actor who seems cut from Affleck’s cloth would be unwise. Hoechlin has the fans, the looks, and awaits mainstream ‘name’ status. We’ll see if WB feels the same.
Yes, we once again throw Matt Bomer’s name into the ring. But can you blame us? Bomer was a frontrunner for Superman before Henry Cavill landed the coveted role, and his clean-cut good looks made him a fit for the billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne as well. But his shorter height (5’11”) and stature when compared to Cavill was hard to overlook.
But as Dick Grayson – using acrobatics and speed over brute strength – Bomer seems to possess the physicality needed (Magic Mike proved he’s in top shape), while still possessing the looks expected of Bruce Wayne’s second-in-command. And lest we forget: he had the good sense to take himself out of the running for Fifty Shades of Grey.
Bomer has proven his versatility and screen presence starring in Chuck and White Collar, so his age is the only real question mark. If it isn’t, then consider Bomer and Vampire Diaries‘ Ian Somerhalder in a dead heat.
His Supernatural co-star Jensen Ackles may have gotten the bulk of the attention when word came of a new Batman being cast (or when discussing any DC hero), but Jared Padalecki’s own attributes shouldn’t be overlooked. For starters, the actor is about as close to Grayson as physically possible – and no, we don’t just mean his famous physique.
With a career built on playing one part of a two-part detective team, and walking the line between hero and terrifying monster fairly frequently, Supernatural fans don’t need to be told why he’s already proven to possess what’s needed for a live-action Grayson. The fact that he’s one of Warner Bros.’ most reliable fan-favorites shouldn’t be understated either.
Normally, we’d think that the TV schedule would make a big screen appearance unlikely. But given that the role may be a small one to start, and Padalecki’s enthusiasm for the Comic-Con crowd, we wouldn’t count him out.
That concludes our list of actors that we feel could play the youthful, acrobatic, and humorous sidekick to Ben Affleck’s Batman. As past superhero films have proven, any actor can by made to look the part with an intense fitness plan. And with several incarnations of Grayson to choose from, the possibilities seem more varied than usual.
What are your hopes for a live-action take on Robin/Nightwing? Do you agree with our picks, or have you been hoping to see another actor in the part?
Leave your thoughts in the comments.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.