‘Nightwing’ Director Chris McKay on What Distinguishes the Hero from Batman

     February 27, 2017


Currently enjoying a strong box office and critical performance in its third week of release is the animated family-friendly comedy, The LEGO Batman Movie. Director Chris McKay clearly showed his ability to crush Batman-related Easter eggs with this latest effort, and has a strong background in comedy/animation, but he’ll soon be taking on a new challenge altogether, that of a live-action Nightwing movie.

Honestly, this news kinda came out of left field. Sure, fans have long awaited a film centering on the grown-up Dick Grayson who distances himself from Batman and the Robin persona by creating his own superhero alter ego, but with the DCEU laid out the way it is, a Nightwing film was on the shortlist for the last things we expected. But it’s refreshing and welcome news indeed, especially considering that it will be the first opportunity for the fan-favorite character to go on a solo mission in live action. And it sounds like McKay has a good handle on what makes Nightwing stand apart from his more famous mentor.


Image via DC Comics

Here’s what McKay had to say during a recent chat with the Shanlian on Batman podcast (via Dark Horizons):

“Bruce Wayne in my mind came from privilege and I think that’s why he’s more dour and angry. He’s self-made as far as his becoming all of these cool things we like him for… Dick Grayson didn’t come from that. Dick Grayson came from a circus family. Essentially people who aren’t rich and they are self-made.


They’re entertainers. They’re gymnasts. They’re people who live hand-to-mouth and that’s something that informs him and his attitude… he’s a fascinating guy to me, because he had all the same things happen to him.


He’s got some of the same negatives as Bruce Wayne and then from a society standpoint – obviously he was adopted into Bruce Wayne’s life… but he didn’t start that way. He’s this guy who has all these negatives and then even more negatives and yet he remains… Those are things why I like Dick Grayson, why I like the idea of Nightwing as a movie.”

Aside from the much maligned movie Catwoman, there hasn’t been a live-action solo hero’s journey set in the Batman universe that hasn’t focused on the Caped Crusader himself. Nightwing looks to change that, and for all the reasons McKay listed, that’s a very good thing. We’ve seen Bruce Wayne’s dark origin story so many times, but Dick Grayson’s similarly tragic beginnings have only been teased or shown rarely, relatively speaking. This is a clean slate of sorts for the Bat-family. Here’s hoping McKay & Co. can bring it home!

Be sure to check out our recent Nightwing coverage below, like our poll for who should be cast in the title role!


Image via DC Comics

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