Say what you will, but Doctor Strange’s proven something we’ve all realised in 2016: Marvel’s Cinematic Universe’s far from being dethroned by its nearest competitor. While DC’s battled critics, underwhelming fan responses, directors pulling out of future projects and the merciless rumour mill, Marvel’s two for two this year – and future films are looking exceptionally strong. DC’s plans seem to rest on the shoulders of next year’s Wonder Woman and Justice League as well as the standalone Batman film, but maybe DC’s missing a bona fide hit that’s right under its nose? Nightwing!
The Gray Son of Gotham
Not only is Dick Grayson the most popular of all those to take up the Robin mantle, but he’s also become a fan favourite in his own right as Nightwing. Lest we forget, he’s stood in as Batman several times, with Bruce Wayne declaring he’s the only one of his protégés who’s truly capable of carrying on the legacy of the cape and cowl. In addition, his latest comic book run, written by Tim Seeley, has only strengthened his position in the Bat Family’s hierarchy with Nightwing rescuing Bruce from his death in the latest issue of Nightwing.
Despite this, we’ve yet to see Dick being introduced in the DCEU. Many of us believed Scott Eastwood was going to be revealed as former Boy Wonder in Suicide Squad, but this never came to fruition.
The Strange and the Small
When Ant-Man, Doctor Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy were announced in Marvel’s release plans, no one could’ve imagined the levels of success these films would achieve. It was risky, since none of these characters are what many would deem household names, but it proved to be a masterstroke in the long run as they complemented the tent pole films fantastically. DC tried the same thing with Suicide Squad; while it was a financial success, it didn’t receive anywhere near the same critical reaction.
Nightwing could hit this proverbial sweet spot better than a character such as Cyborg. Even if Nightwing might not be an instantly recognisable name, most people know enough about Dick Grayson and Robin without the need for a full-on origin film. A film for this character can be created with minimal expectations, but maximum rewards. It could even lead to a future Titans film as well.
Holy Fun Factor, Batman!
Nightwing was always the light to Batman’s dark. He’s a character with excellent acrobatic fighting skills and equally audacious quips during battle. Somewhere between Spider-Man and Deadpool, Dick’s monologue also makes for entertaining interactions between both heroes and villains. Sure, it shouldn’t be a Leon Schuster slapstick film with superheroes, but Nightwing lends itself to being more fun than serious.
DC’s looking for the bridge between the grit and the silly, when it’s been there all this time. Who wouldn’t want to hear Dick Grayson say, “Holy monkey gland sauce, he who shall not be named” in the middle of a battle sequence? This leads us to the next point…
The Batman Influence
Imagine a film set in Blüdhaven where Nightwing has to take down Penguin and his goons at the Ice Lounge? It’s entirely plausible and would probably suit a Nightwing film more than a Batman one at present. Throw in an appearance by Ben Affleck and Jeremy Irons and fanboys will lose their minds at seeing the Bat Family onscreen for the first time in this new universe.
The success of DCEU rests on Batman. Whichever way you look at it, Batman is DC’s premier property at the moment and anything tied to the Caped Crusader will likely do better than other properties. How many of us went into Suicide Squad based purely on seeing the Joker and Harley Quinn, for example? Give his associates the screen time and the fans will come.
image by BossLogic Art
Made For TV
If not film, why not TV? We’ve already seen Oliver Queen battle and bed most of Nightwing’s associates on Arrow, so it makes sense to bring this character to the small screen at some point as well. His personality and behaviour would suit the CW format, while keeping Batman fans happy knowing there’s someone representing the B-A-T on the network. It’s a no-brainer, especially considering the planned Titans series was canned.
As Marvel dominates the big and small screens, DC’s undoubtedly plotting how it can bring the pain to the party. While Nightwing might not fix all its problems or deliver all the answers, it’s certainly a move that can do more good than harm.