Everything We Know About Standalone DCEU ‘Nightwing’ Movie
By Jaclyn Cascio (@jaclynator)
The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) has brought us Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad, and promises us more solo character movies as well as Justice League, where the heroes unite. The DCEU plans don’t end there, however. Our future also holds a solo Batman movie and a stand-alone Nightwing film! So what’s up with Batman and Robin?
Despite whatever mixed reviews Batman v Superman received, there was a positive response to Ben Affleck as the Caped Crusader from many fans. DC and Warner Bros. chose to capitalize on that response by getting Affleck involved in a solo Batman film, working both as a lead and also as a creative mind behind the film. Affleck was set to produce and direct the solo film, tentatively titled The Batman (although Affleck has admitted the title could change) and even wrote a script with president and Chief Creative Officer of DC, Geoff Johns.
However, everything began to change with Ben Affleck stepped down from the director’s chair. Affleck has stated that he is committed to the project, and currently remains as a producer and star of the film. During his announcement, he explained, “Performing this role demands focus, passion, and the very best performance I can give. It has become clear that I cannot do both jobs to the level they require.”
With Affleck stepping down, other changes followed. The script received an overhaul, rewritten by Chris Terrio (Argo), and another rewrite and further changes are possible. The first script was referred to by Affleck as “original,” pulling from and inspired by the comic books, but not necessarily following a particular story arc. (Despite this, there are fans who believe that Jason Todd, one of many Robins, may be involved in an “Under the Red Hood” style story, after Batman v Superman hinted at the death of Robin at the hands of The Joker.) While the original script included Joe Manganiello as Slade “Deathstroke” Wilson and other villains, it seems that even this information might not be set in stone either, as Manganiello gave an uncertain “maybe” when asked on Pittsburgh Today Live if he was still involved with the solo Batman movie.
With the director’s chair open after Affleck dropped that particular responsibility, Matt Reeves (known for his work with the Planet of the Apes reboot franchise and Cloverfield) was up to direct. After some confusion about whether he would take on the project or not, it was finally confirmed and announced by Warner Bros. and Reeves. During the announcement, Reeves said, “I have loved the Batman story since I was a child… I am incredibly honored and excited to be working with Warner Bros. to bring an epic and emotional new take on the Caped Crusader to the big screen.”
With so much uncertainty, it is no surprise that there is no release date yet for The Batman. Joe Manganiello stated, “The movie will start shooting whenever [the] pieces are in place.” While we wait for more definitive answers, let’s talk about Robin… Or rather Robin after he left the Bat nest and became Nightwing.
In February, Warner Bros. announced they want to move forward with a stand-alone Nightwing film, to be directed by Chris McKay (who just worked on a little animated feature called The Lego Batman Movie). Bill Dubuque (The Accountant) is set to write the script. With the announcement of the live-action film to be part of the DCEU, fans have already begun dream-casting. But the film is in very beginning stages of development with no release date announced, and casting will likely be even further in the future than the solo Batman movie.
Casting will be an important process, as Nightwing reportedly has the “best backside in comics.” (No pressure, future Nightwing actor!) Nightwing, also known as Dick Grayson, was the first Robin to be taken under Batman’s wing (pun intended). The youngest in a family of acrobats, Grayson’s parents were murdered and Bruce Wayne took the boy as a legal ward and eventual partner in crime-fighting. Grayson eventually left to lead Teen Titans in the 1980s comic books and took on the Nightwing persona, fighting crime in Gotham’s neighboring Blüdhaven.
Director Chris McKay has already demonstrated his ability to direct a film with Robin (albeit an animated kid’s version), and has expressed in an episode of podcast “Shanlian on Batman” that he wants the movie to be, “really interesting, intriguing, action-packed character movie.” While he is still in post-production for the next film in the Planet of the Apes franchise, Nightwing might be next up to bat. (Just assume all puns are intended.)
The DCEU has several movies coming down the pipeline, and while it might take a while, it looks like Warner Bros. has some plans for Batman and Robin. Who knows? Maybe we’ll be lucky and see them together on screen too!