To everyone’s surprise, Warner Bros announced this week that The LEGO Batman Movie director Chris McKay would helm a Nightwing solo movie for the DCEU, focused on the adventures of Batman’s first and former Robin, Dick Grayson. Seriously, who saw this coming?
It’s exciting, of course, because Warner Bros could go literally anywhere with it; on his own, Grayson doesn’t have as many iconic villains or storylines as his mentor, so there’s plenty of room to play around. With that in mind, we have to fan-cast a pretty wide net as to who might appear in this movie... although there are some pretty obvious characters to start with.
Personally, I would love it if Warner Bros took a chance on an unknown actor of Romani background, as that’s an oft overlooked aspect of Dick Grayson’s comic book origins. Unfortunately that’s very unlikely to happen, because if Dick’s gonna lead his own movie, the WB’s probably gonna want somebody we’ve heard of before. So why not one of these guys?
- Steven Yeun. The entirety of my Twitter feed is obsessed with this rumor, and for good reason, because the dude is perfect. After all, supervillains can’t be that much harder to take down than zombies, right? Bonus points if they can get Jeffrey Dean Morgan in there as Midnighter for a cameo, because that would really blow some nerds' minds.
- Steven R. McQueen. The Vampire Diaries actor was once rumored to be in the running for the role of Nightwing in TNT’s Teen Titans series, and he’s also joked about wanting to play the character on Arrow. It’s only fair that he get a shot at this point, because he seems super into the idea.
- Oscar Isaac. Listen. I know this is a long shot. I know that Oscar is very busy being in Star Wars, and Disney probably has a lock on him for some kind of upcoming Marvel project because that's how they roll. But he is the Internet’s Boyfriend and that makes him singularly worthy to play Dick, the most handsome man in the DC universe.
So far, the DCEU has taken a lot of inspiration from the New 52 versions of their iconic characters. If they end up doing the same with Nightwing’s story, then Helena Bertinelli will definitely be a part of it — after all, she was his secret agent partner at the shadowing organization Spyral in recent story arcs. Even if the movie doesn’t go that exact route, Helena would still be cool to have on the team, especially played by one of these actors:
- Ruth Negga. She looks exactly like the New 52 version of Helena. Like, seriously. Look back and forth at these two pictures—it’s uncanny. Plus, thanks to Preacher, she’s no stranger to comic book adaptations, or to being a total badass.
- Naya Rivera. Helena has to be completely immune to Dick Grayson’s charms and willing to knock him around to get what she wants, and I fully believe that Naya is up to that. Besides, we all know how casting Glee alumni has worked out for the DC TV universe (hint: it’s worked extremely well!)
- Lyndie Greenwood. Sleepy Hollow might be coming back for a fourth season… someday. But we’re sure that Lyndie could make time in her schedule to show off her demon-hunting skills as the literal Huntress.
Babs and Dick have a long history together as members of the Bat-family — and as romantic interests, sometimes! As much as we all want her to have her own movie (or, at least, a leading role in Margot Robbie’s Gotham City Sirens project), it’d be extra cool to see her pitching in to help Dick out in some capacity.
- Gina Rodriguez. Why not follow in the footsteps of The LEGO Batman Movie and cast a Latina actress as Babs? Rosario Dawson’s pretty busy these days, but Gina’s time on Jane the Virgin has proved she’s got the grit and pep that a good Barbara Gordon needs.
- Jena Malone. Yes, it’s a relief that all those rumors turned out to be false and Malone wasn’t playing a post-Killing Joke Barbara Gordon in Batman V Superman. But on the other hand, Jena would be an amazing Barbara.
- Alexa Vega. Girl’s been starring in action movies basically all her life as part of the Spy Kids franchise, and I, for one, would love to see how she handles a meatier role.
Villains and Supporting Characters
Now, where we go next depends entirely on what kind of story the movie follows. Will they go back to the character’s roots and explore the seedy underbelly of nearby Blüdhaven? Will they use Nightwing’s story as a backdoor pilot for a Teen Titans team-up (in which case the villain would definitely be Joe Manganiello as Deathstroke)? Or will they dig into the New 52 story arc and make him a secret agent of Spyral? There's no way of knowing just yet, but let’s quickly run through some possible supporting characters and villains:
Catalina Flores (Tarantula): Demi Lovato
A weird choice, I know, but you can’t tell me Demi wouldn’t rock it as basically the morally grey Punisher to Nightwing’s goody-two-shoes Daredevil. I mean, she’s already got plenty of kickboxing training. (Naya Rivera would also be a solid choice if she’s not playing Helena Bertinelli, but I think a Catalina Flores type who reads as younger than Nightwing is the way to go for that character).
Roland Desmond (Blockbuster): Ron Perlman
Blockbuster is basically what you’d get it you fused Bane with Wilson Fisk. You need someone who’s physically imposing, but still reads as a clever criminal mastermind. Ron Perlman definitely fits that bill. That’s basically who he played in Pacific Rim, after all.
Dudley "Deadly" Soames (Torque): Liam Cunninghan
Torque was a corrupt cop who turned to super-villainy after his head got twisted 180 degrees, because yeah, that would definitely mess a normal person right the heck up. Seeing as Cunningham's been playing a man slowly stretched way beyond his breaking point as Davos in Game of Thrones, it would be fascinating to watch him finally go full psycho bad-guy already.
Tiger (Agent 1): Oded Fehr
Tiger is Grayson's friend and colleague in Spyral and has since crossed over into the new Nightwing Rebirth series. Fehr never got to be the Doctor Strange we all wanted and deserved (although, okay, Benedict Cumberbatch did do a good job), so it'd be great to give him a shot at a different superhero movie instead.
Mister Minos: Jared Harris
Obviously Mister Minos doesn’t have a face, but that hairline (plus his whole mysterious ‘60s secret agent vibe) just screams Jared Harris to me for some reason.
Kathy Webb-Kane (Agent Zero): Demi Moore
Kathy Webb-Kane is Bruce Wayne’s aunt by marriage, so she should look at least a decade older than Ben Affleck, but for some strange reason she’s not really drawn that way (gee, I wonder why). Demi Moore, as we all know, is practically immortal, so she’d be perfect.
Any other ideas for who you’d want to see in this movie? Maybe Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, or Cassandra Cain, perhaps? What about the Run-Offs from Nightwing's Rebirth title? Let us know in the comments!
Images: DC Comics/AMC/ The CW/Lucasfilm/Fox/Amazon Studios/Triumph Films/VEVO/Warner Brothers/HBO/Universal/Momentum Pictures
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