A few years back, Warner Bros. announced a slate of upcoming DC films being released through 2020. Unfortunately, the studio was counting their chickens before they hatched. Batman v Superman received mixed reviews at best, and while Suicide Squad proved to be a box-office hit, it also suffered far worse of a response from critics and fans. This led to a shakeup over the course of an entire year since BvS released. Some projects have been delayed indefinitely (The Flash), others fast-tracked to start production (The Batman), and some thrown into development as a reaction to the audience’s response (Gotham City Sirens, Deadshot solo film). It’s probably best that we all forget that initial DC slate was ever announced, and just look forward to the projects we know are happening, for the time being.
This brings me to news that another DC project has been thrown into the mix, featuring a well-known character in the Batman family. The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Warner Bros. is putting a Nightwing solo film into development. Their sources have learned that The LEGO Batman Movie director Chris McKay will likely helm the project, with a script currently being drafted by Bill Dubuque (The Accountant). If you’re like me, and aren’t too familiar with the Nightwing character, then I’ll direct you to a brief summary of the character’s backstory, which THR was kind enough to provide:
Nightwing, aka Dick Grayson, is perhaps best known for being the original Robin. Grayson was the youngest member of a family of acrobats known as the Flying Graysons. He was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger and illustrator Jerry Robinson, and first introduced in Detective Comics No. 38 in April 1940. After his parents were murdered, he was taken in as the legal ward of Bruce Wayne/Batman. He then became Robin and teamed up with the Dark Knight on many an adventure to fight crime in the city of Gotham.
Grayson famously shed his persona in the 1980s as the character aged up, and became the leader of the Teen Titans. (In the DC Universe, a succession of young men took on the mantle of Robin while Nightwing became a popular character in his own right, headlining his own comics and appearing in animated movies.)
Only Warner Bros. knows where this movie fits into the DCEU, and so far they’ve yet to announce that. Considering what we know so far regarding story, it’s possible for Nightwing to already pre-exist in this universe. As the character summary above mentions, once Dick Grayson abandons the Robin persona, several other young men took on the mantle. In Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, it’s teased that Jason Todd was the successor, and eventually was murdered by the hands of Joker and Harley Quinn.
For me, this announcement begs the following question: could it be possible that Nightwing makes his debut in The Batman? That entirely depends on what direction Matt Reeves, Ben Affleck, and Geoff Johns intend on taking. Right now, the project remains a few years away from starting production. The hiring of Chris McKay could be a brilliant one, considering his demonstration for understanding and having a deep passion for DC characters, Batman in particular. Plus, The LEGO Batman Movie ended up being very successful both critically and financially. This could be a great thing for the DCEU.
Sources: The Hollywood Reporter.