Going into 2017, most people had no idea who Chris McKay was. And they probably still don’t actually. But this “unknown” director can now claim to have directed the greatest Batman movie ever! So what if this particular Dark Knight was yellow and made of plastic and had no knees! And with The Lego Batman Movie drawing rave reviews and making heaps of cash around the world, it appears that the folks at Warner Bros. want to keep McKay playing in the Batcave (Not the real Batcave though, as that’s now officially being occupied by Matt Reeves and Ben Affleck), as its reported that he’s in talks to direct a live-action Nightwing movie.
THR broke the news last night, indicating that the plan is for McKay to helm a feature film that’s currently being scripted by Bill Debuque, who also wrote Affleck’s The Accountant last year. I guess they like keeping it in the family. Or the Bat family in this case, as Nightwing is actually the grown-up costumed alter ego of Dick Grayson, Batman’s original Robin. In the comics, Grayson is the youngest member of the Flying Graysons, a family of circus performers, who witnesses his parents being murdered by gangsters during a show. Bruce Wayne aka Batman was in attendance, and decides to take in the young orphan as his ward. Eventually, Batman – because he’s an unhinged sociopath who apparently doesn’t care about the mental and physical wellbeing of children – sticks him in a goofy costume with the name Robin, and has the young boy join him in fighting crime in Gotham.
Dick would be the first of a string of underaged Robins (the latest being Batman’s son Damian Wayne), but eventually outgrew that persona and its embarrassing green shorts and pixie boots to take on the mantle of Nightwing, making the city of Bludhaven his place to hang up his domino mask. Dick has since been a firm fan favourite (hur dur), having been the leader of the Teen Titans, and for a brief stint even elevated to the role of Batman when Bruce Wayne died. (Don’t worry, Bruce got better. Comics.)
The Nightwing movie will be a new addition to the DC Comics Extended Universe lineup, the second Batman-related late addition after the recently announced Gotham City Sirens. One interesting wrinkle to this movie is that we’ve kind of already seen Robin in the DCEU… or at least his graffiti covered costume in the Batcave implying that he was killed by the Joker. Initial rumours had indicated that Ben Affleck’s upcoming The Batman solo film would actually be going back in time to tell this story, but that may not be the case here. It’s probably a fair assumption though that the suit belonged to Jason Todd, the second Robin from the comics who was actually beaten to death with a crowbar by the Joker. (Don’t worry, he also got better. Comics again.) If that is the case, then it will be interesting to see how Dick Grayson’s origin fits into all of this.
With the current DCEU titles of Man of Steel and Batman v Superman being as divisive as they are, McKay will have his hands full to make Nightwing more universally acceptable. This will be his first stab at live-action, having previously helmed three seasons of Robot Chicken – which is famous for its skewering of the DC Comics heroes – and been the lead animation director on The Lego Movie before being handed the reins of The Lego Batman. If he can bring the same deep understanding of the mythos of the character of Nightwing as he did with Batman though, and they can nail the casting of Dick Grayson, then this could be pretty cool.