And here we thought that official confirmation of Matt Reeves signing on to direct The Batman was going to be the reward holding Dark Knight fans over as a sign the DCEU - and the corner in which Bruce Wayne resides - was moving in the right direction. But now, word has arrived that Batman's former sidekick, Dick Grayson, is bound for the spotlight in a movie all his own.
News that a Nightwing movie has been greenlit at Warner Bros. would be enough to get a new wave of fans interested, if not downright ecstatic in the future of the movie's universe. But with the same report claiming Chris McKay, director of The LEGO Batman Movie in talks to direct, the news can hardly get more promising - especially for Batman fans who felt their love of Batman's lighter side rewarded with McKay's directorial debut. Although Nightwing may not pursue the exact same level of comedy.
The word arrives courtesy of THR, claiming that McKay is in talks to direct the movie, with a script being handled by writer Bill Dubuque (screenwriter of Ben Affleck's recent action film The Accountant). The news comes as a shock to most, but not for those following McKay's comments in the lead-up to LEGO Batman's release. With the topic of directing a live action feature starring a DC Comics superhero raised online, McKay confirmed on Twitter that he was "going to go in and see those guys and pitch myself." Apparently, if McKay's words are taken at face value, that pitch was connected to Nightwing... and they were sold.
Reports so far claim that McKay is "in talks" for the job, but given his success with the Dark Knight's pantheon of characters in LEGO form, and judging by McKay's own Twitter activity, it seems the deal will be closed before long. Which means fans of the superhero can speculate how the same person who crafted the campy comedy LEGO Batman will apply his talents to a film starring Nightwing and his own brand of martial arts and humor. He is the man who was once the quippy, plucky sidekick known as 'Robin the Boy Wonder.'
McKay's career is firmly rooted in the world of satirical, nostalgic meta-comedy best exemplified in comedic shorts like Robot Chicken, so one of the factors behind the decision was likely the appeal of adding a lighter, more comedic voice to the DCEU. At one point, that was the leading talking point in The Flash - perhaps the uncertainty surrounding that solo DC movie has led the minds at Warner Bros. and DC Films (Geoff Johns chief among them) to look for their commentary and observational humor elsewhere.
It wouldn't be a stretch for the character, and if you're looking for a hero to take playful, well-informed, and above all clever shots at Ben Affleck's gritty, cynical Batman... McKay may have placed himself at the top of the contenders. But just as exciting for DC Comics fans as debating where or when a Nightwing ovie would be set is how it may open more doors into the DCEU's Batman family.
Director Zack Snyder opened the first, depicting Jason Todd's defaced Robin costume in Bruce Wayne's Batcave in Batman V Superman. While it set the tone for his fear of how much can be lost when heroes aren't vigilant, it seemed to imply that Jason Todd had been killed by the Joker, and that Dick Grayson had preceded him in the role. But where was Dick? And if that much was being adapted without mention... could a similar path lie open for Batgirl in Margot Robbie's Gotham City Sirens?
It's still too early to speculate, but with Wonder Woman and Aquaman telling completely different stories, the idea of the DCEU containing different sensibilities or styles may be old news by the time serious news or casting on Nightwing ever arrives. But on its own, DC Films getting behind a standalone Nightwing story confirms that characters directly tied to Batman are fair game. Provided there's the right story, and storyteller, lining up to make them a movie star.
What do you think of a Nightwing movie joining the DCEU? Will a live-action Dick Grayson teasing Bruce Wayne make the hero's grim outlook worthwhile? And as always, let us know your own picks for who should star in the film, or what stories it could follow, in the comments.
- The Batman (2021) release date: Jun 25, 2021
- Justice League (2017) release date: Nov 17, 2017