Last week, it was reported that "The LEGO Batman Movie" director Chris McKay was in negotiations to develop a Nightwing movie for Warner Bros. With "Wonder Woman" and "Justice League" hitting theaters later this year and various other movies in different stages of development right now under the DC banner, this is an opportunity for WB to take their time and approach the character with the love and attention he deserves.
Richard "Dick" Grayson, a.k.a. Nightwing, is a popular character very near and dear to many fans of DC comics books, video games and animated features. It's a character many have waited a long time to see on the big screen and the prospect of him being a part of the DC Expanded Universe of movies is a thrilling notion, one we can only hope does justice to the character. On that note, here's what we absolutely want to see in this Nightwing movie.
We've heard the city's name mentioned a few times on The CW's "Arrow," and even paid it a quick but all-too-brief visit. However, so far, the DC movie universe has mostly stayed within well-known locations: Smallville, Metropolis and Gotham City. The only new location it gave us so far was "Suicide Squad's" Midway City, but that one didn't get much of a personality. Introducing Blüdhaven, the city Nightwing is known to operate in, would open the world of the DC universe a whole lot more and give casual audiences a new city name to remember.
Blüdhaven is filled with abandoned industrial complexes and riddled with crime, and it doesn't have the luxury of a man dressed as bat with his shining light in the sky to come to the rescue. By comparison, it can show us that Batman's work in Gotham isn't actually without its merits. Blüdhaven is a place of opportunity, for both criminals and heroes. A place to start fresh, especially for a young hero who has left Gotham behind.
14 HALY'S CIRCUS
Whether in the past or the present, there absolutely needs to be a few mentions of the traveling circus Dick Grayson grew up in. It is the place where he performed with his mother and father as The Flying Graysons, a team of acrobats. This background is important to the character, since this is where he first learned to be an athletic performer, but also the place where, in a horrible tragedy, Dick's parents died due to the schemes of a low-level thug.
Luckily for him, Bruce Wayne was in attendance that day. In that moment, Bruce saw himself in young Dick and connected with him as an orphan, both of them having lost their parents in a heinous crime. When Bruce adopted Dick, he gave him a roof over his head and a stability that he had never known, but also a purpose. Haly's Circus is in the roots of the character, and it's embedded in Dick's DNA. It's a place he sometimes finds himself coming back to as a reminder of the first life he knew; a home away from home.
13 A DIFFERENT STYLE OF FIGHTING
With Dick having grown up as an acrobat in a circus, there is a fluidity and a theatricality to his movements and fighting style that differentiates him from Batman. Now, there's no denying that the warehouse fight scene in "Batman v. Superman" was a clear highlight that left everyone's jaws on the floor as to what a Batman beat down could look like. This means that the Nightwing producers would have their work cut out for them as to what a Nightwing fight could look like. But if they play their cards right, they could design a more athletic style that's less brutal and more flamboyant.
While Nightwing employs many fewer fancy gadgets than Batman, he does rely on the signature use of his escrima sticks, which are often depicted as being electrified, adding a certain sparkle of blue to his theatrics. This could all add up to incredibly spectacular fight sequences, something along the lines of what we have seen in "Daredevil" on Netflix, only even more exuberant.
12 MOTORCYCLE CHASES
Batman has the Batmobile. Everyone knows that. In "Batman v. Superman," we saw the Batmobile tear through trucks and brick walls and shoot up whatever was standing in its way. Sadly, Dick Grayson doesn't have an iconic and destructive mode of transportation like that. Howeverm he has been known to drive around on a motorcycle, something befitting his agility and finesse. The unknown, dark streets of Blüdhaven would be the perfect place to stage scenes of Nightwing speeding his way to the rescue.
In the spirit of doing things differently than his former partner does, the movie could opt to showcase Nightwing's driving prowess behind the bars of his bike. With today's technology and the ever-expanding capabilities of stunt teams, this could all lead to a few breathtaking motorcycle chase sequences that could rival even the most famous car chases put on film. Think of the famous Batpod tunnel chase scene from "The Dark Knight" and then add the comic book spectacle of the DCEU movies. Now you have a standout action sequence waiting to happen.
While we do know that Joe Manganiello has been tapped to play Slade Wilson in the DCEU, we know very little about his character or his motivations just yet. We don't know if he will be the main villain of the new Batman movie or if he'll just have a small role in "Justice League." There is no telling where he might pop up. However, there is one thing comic book fans do know. Deathstroke and Nightwing have a long history together as enemies.
While we wouldn't be looking at him to be the main antagonist of the Nightwing movie just yet, including him in some manner would be a great opportunity to establish their relationship. As a mercenary, Slade could appear as a side villain, paying a visit to Blüdhaven to fulfill a particular contract. Attempting to take out his target could set him right in Nightwing's crosshairs, and set up a rivalry that could be followed up in more movies, from a sequel to an actual "Teen Titans" movie.
10 TEEN TITANS GROUNDWORK
Speaking of the Teen Titans, as an original member and founder of the team, we would expect nothing less than to see or hear a few mentions of at least a few of Dick's future (or former?) team members. Since Batman is currently busy recruiting metahumans to form a certain league, so too could Nightwing be inspired to follow suit and create his own superhero team. All that would be needed are a few news articles scattered over his apartment, or maybe a wall with newspaper clippings and notes, something that he keeps up with on his downtime.
These articles could mention a girl who fell from the stars (Starfire), reports of a hooded shadow lurking in purple smoke (Raven) and maybe even strange sighting of yellow electricity in Keystone City (Kid Flash). We could even see a few pictures and a file of Cyborg, who we now know will be in the "Justice League" movie. A quick look or appearance from him could hint at his inclusion in the Teen Titans, the team he was most associated with in the comics over the decades. While very meaningful to the comic book fans, all of these little hints would be little more than easter eggs, but could also set things up for a brighter future.
Not too long ago in the comic book world, Dick Grayson dropped his Nightwing persona, faked his death and became a super spy for an organization called Spyral in the brilliant "Grayson" series by writers Tom King and Tim Seeley. He did it all to go in undercover and stop the organization, as they posed a very real threat to the world and its heroes. While this story could very well work as a movie all its own, it wouldn't work as the first story to tell. Rather, it would be interesting to see some small hints of the organization and its agents.
These could be mentions in the background or small scenes used to set-up whatever it is that they are planning. They'd be shadows in the dark that would make Nightwing look over his shoulder and wonder if he actually saw someone there. Spyral could slowly be introduced here, to later be taken center stage somewhere else in the DCEU as an organization that could rival A.R.G.U.S.. Maybe a new mission for the "Suicide Squad" is in the cards?
8 BATMAN AND ROBIN FLASHBACKS
While this movie will be our first opportunity to see Nightwing go out on his own, there is something else we need to see as well. We need to see the fighting unit that was Batman and Robin in the DCEU. We need to see what Gotham City was like when these two owned the night, jumping from rooftop to rooftop. But not only that, this would also give us a look at a different kind of Bruce Wayne, one who was more fatherly and protective.
Since Robin was quite young when he first started out as Batman's partner, we would maybe require a younger actor to step into the green boots and yellow cape to highlight the fact that this was a long time ago. In the DCEU, Batman has been operating for more than 20 years, and we need to see that reflected in his relationship with Robin. We need to see them excel at what they did, see them bond and see them share some warmer, quieter moments if we are to get to the next point on this list.
7 BATMAN AND NIGHTWING IN A FRACTURED RELATIONSHIP
We know from "Batman v. Superman" that Bruce Wayne has been on his own for a while. Other than Alfred in the Batcave, he takes to the Gotham streets alone. If we know that Dick Grayson was a part of his brighter past, it begs the question “what could have possibly happened between them?” With Dick striking on his own in Blüdhaven, a few mentions of Batman's name thrown his way could allow Dick to react in a resentful, maybe even hateful way.
The answer could lie in a mystery that has been running in both "Batman v. Superman" and "Suicide Squad," meaning the Robin armor left in the Batcave, that's perpetually haunting Bruce Wayne. If the rumors and theories are to be believed, this armor could belong to none other than the second Robin, Jason Todd, who died at the hands of the Joker. If Bruce lost him, it could be possible that he decided to push Dick far away from him in order to save him from a fate similar to Jason's.
Sure, Bruce Wayne took Dick in and made him the man he is today, but there was always someone else in that Batcave, someone to talk to, to cook meals and sew wounds, and that was Alfred. While Bruce and Dick might have a fractured relationship, it doesn't have to be that Nightwing does with Alfred also. If Bruce is the father figure, then Alfred is the uncle, the one Dick could talk to when Bruce wouldn't listen. He was always there for him, and it would make sense to have him be a small part of this movie.
Jeremy Irons' portrayal of a more grizzled Alfred who's seen it all was great, but he was almost criminally underused. The Nightwing movie would be a great time to bring him back, let us see more of his take on the role and showcase the shared universe aspect of the DCEU. Besides, having him make a quick visit to Blüdhaven to convince Dick to come back home would even allow us to see something we rarely do: Alfred outside of the batcave.
5 BARBARA GORDON
Every superhero story needs a love story of some sort, and the Nightwing movie could give us a pairing we've been longing to see for a long time. In the comic books, Dick and Barbara have a long and complicated relationship, but they always more or less find their way back to each other, in a sort will they/won't they for the superhero age. Having Barbara as Dick's confidant and moral support could prove important, with Barbara having a pivotal role in the story.
Since Barbara Gordon is known to all as Batgirl, the movie could also serve as a launching pad for her own superheroic career. She could know or find out about Dick's secret identity, and by extension figure out the Batman's true identity. This in turn could inspire her to go back to Gotham, make a Bat-costume of her own and help protect the city her father, Commissioner Gordon, risks his life day in and day out to defend.
4 JOY AND HOPE
Dick Grayson sets himself apart from Batman because he doesn't share his bleak outlook on life. While they both went through the same crucible, there's something about Dick that he simply doesn't share with Bruce: a positive outlook on life. He tries to see the best in everyone, and really sets out to help them in any way he can. His arrival in the dark city of Blüdhaven is a contrast all on its own, and this fact should be highlighted in the film.
Unlike Batman, Dick is not a product of his environment, and the producers should let him be the light in the dark that he is. He knows how and when to smile, how to crack a joke and laugh. He has tons of heart, energy and spirit. Ask any comic fan to describe Dick Grayson to someone who doesn't know him, and nine times out of 10, they'll tell you that he is more or less Superman without super-powers.
3 A SUPERMAN CAMEO
This isn't a largely known fact to the general public, but the idea behind the codename for Dick Grayson's new superhero identity after Robin – Nightwing – came from Superman himself. In fact, in the comics, just as much as Dick was inspired by Batman, he was equally inspired by Superman to be selfless and a true hero. After the events of "Batman v. Superman" and Clark Kent's heroic sacrifice, it would be easy to see Dick become inspired by the hero who lost his life stopping Doomsday.
With Superman poised to return to life in "Justice League," a Nightwing movie could also bring with it a cameo from none other than Henry Cavill himself, who could keep an eye on Grayson at Batman's behest. They could then have a rooftop conversation where Superman tells him a story of the Nightwing, a god from his home planet of Krypton. Then after a talk about what it means to be a hero and about life, death and rebirth, we could then see Dick adopt the moniker and become the hero we all know and love.
2 THE BLACK AND BLUE COSTUME
At the onset of the New 52, Dick Grayson was relaunched as Nightwing with a black and red uniform, a callback to his Robin days, a color unifying all those who had borne that mantle. The New 52 had a more grounded, gritty approach that served to partly inspire the new take on Superman in "Man of Steel." However, this is a case where, for the movies, the creators should opt for the classic look.
With the Rebirth event currently underway in the DC comics, Nightwing was brought back to his original colors of black and blue. Colors he is associated with, and recognized by, from the "Arkham" video game series and the "Young Justice" animated series. If Dick Grayson is to hit the big screen, it needs to be with the iconic colors that make him who he is. It sets him apart from Batman and the other members of the Bat-family, and it cements his position as a standalone hero.
1 A RESURGENT JASON TODD AS THE MAIN VILLAIN
Jason Todd has been featured as one of the main villains as the "Arkham Knight" in the video game of the same name, and he returned as the villainous Red Hood to attack Batman in the comic books. But what if the movie decided not to bring Todd back as a Batman villain, but a Nightwing villain. That way, viewers could be treated to a story about fallen Robins, one still fighting for good, the other evil, an antagonistic relationship that could be approached as a tale of two brothers.
One in black and blue, the other in black and red: opposing each other. One forgotten and abandoned by Bruce Wayne, the other pushed away to be saved and protected. This would make for a great personal story that would tie into everything we know so far about the Batman, giving us answers to lingering questions, all the while setting up a possible rehabilitation for Jason thanks to Dick's eternal hope and willingness to do right by everyone. It's a story that could end with no one dying and no one losing, with the sun rising over Blüdhaven.
Be sure to tell us in the comments what you want to see in the upcoming "Nightwing" movie!