It's amazing how open Chris McKay has been with DC fans about the upcoming Nightwing film. Despite not divulging the plot of the story, McKay — who also directed The Lego Batman Movie — has continued to keep fans in the loop with regards to the development of Nightwing's story, as well as the direction he's taking the film. And if what McKay is saying is true, Nightwing will certainly be one epic superhero movie.
Recently, while speaking to Collider, the director revealed more about the world he's building for the popular DC comics character.
We'll See Robin Become Nightwing
Robin was there as a window character for little kids like me to understand Batman’s world and see into Batman’s world. There’s no other character in comics that went through this real-time transition. Every other character lives in a rough version of the age that they’re in. Very few characters actually grow up in the comics and become something else, and go from being a boy to being an adult, and have their own life and become their own thing.
As McKay stated, The Boy Wonder is one of the few comics character who we see grow through the comics — other members of the Batfamily Jason Todd and Barbara Gordon have also gone through similar arcs of their own — from teenagers to adults. McKay hasn't stated exactly how old Nightwing will be in his film but it's probable that when we see Dick Grayson, he'll be in his early to late twenties.
It's also very likely that we won't see much of the character in the Robin getup (flashbacks of course are highly likely) especially since that seems to be Brandon Thwaite's arc in the upcoming Titans show which is set to include Nightwing. Although the show won't have any correlation with the DCEU or the Nightwing movie, it's unlikely that we'll see the rehashing of the same plot in both the TV series and the upcoming movie. What McKay's remarks though suggest though is that we will see the impact of the changes in Grayson's life from being Robin to being Nightwing, meaning that Nightwing will be as big of a coming of age story as it will be a superhero origin saga.
Say Goodbye To CGI
It’s gonna be a f***ing badass action movie with a lot of heart and emotion. It’s gonna be a crazy, fun ride. Whoever gets cast as Nightwing, and any of the other actors around, are gonna go through a f***ing boot camp experience because it’s gonna be a lot. I’m not gonna do a lot of CG. It’s gonna be real stuntwork, and they’re gonna need to do all of the stuff on camera and do it credibly. [...] His superpower is being really f***ing good, as a human being, at fighting and gymnastics and shit like that, so you’re gonna see that on screen. It’s gonna be fun!
It seems that Chris McKay is going to go for Patty Jenkins "boot camp" training for the cast and crew of the film, something that certainly paid off in spades in Wonder Woman, and could continue to work well in Nightwing. This also means that whoever gets cast as the titular hero will have his work cut out for him, given that Dick Grayson is an excellent acrobat with a really, really good physique. The director's focus on stuntwork is also something fans can rally behind given that Grayson is supposed to be a wiz at hand to hand combat particularly by using his batons.
It's also fair to assume that this means that the villain for Nightwing won't be a CGI monster (you know, like Enchantress and her minions in Suicide Squad, Doomsday in Batman v. Superman and Ares in Wonder Woman.) This will certainly keep critics happy, who've often complained that DCEU practically ruins their movies with their overuse of CGI.
What's great about what McKay is said so far is that he really seems to understand the fun-loving essence of Dick Grayson's character. This bodes very well for the movie, which needs to have a lighter, more upbeat tone than the DCEU's other, darker offerings. A Nightwing movie that is too moody or doesn't focus enough on stunt work just won't be able to service the character well.
Luckily, McKay seems very interested in keeping the character true to his roots, which as we all know is the way to adapt a comic book character on the big screen. And while admittedly McKay's infectious enthusiasm certainly seems that the movie is on the right track, let's just hope that whenever the Nightwing movie comes it's every bit as awesome as it's titular hero is in the comics.