I’m going to be honest here: Nightwing is my favorite character in the Batman cannon, possibly overall. Why does he need his own film? Because he’s been stuck in as either a teen ager in a green speedo as Robin or Chris O’Donnell! The mainstream needs to let this dude grow-up.
Dick Grayson, Batman’s original Robin, hung up the elf shoes and stepped out into Bludhaven as the masked vigilante Nightwing. Not much changed about his fighting style or persona with the exception of his main weapons being two batons that he beats the ever loving shit out of people with.
Nightwing, more so than any other character in the DC World has gone through as much reinvention and development as any other character and his overall storyline is dizzying. He started out as Robin, became Nightwing, helped mentor every Robin after him (which leads to some pretty bad ass sibling rivalries with Jason Todd and Tim Drake) became Batman when Bruce Wayne disappeared and then Nightwing again.
At this point I’d say that no character besides the Dark Knight himself can claim to have a richer history and integral role in the Universe.
The Batman Disappearance storyline in and of itself would be an excellent story for the big screen. Nightwing retains his acrobatic expertise from his days with Haley’s Circus and his mouth from always, so seeing him try to pass himself off as the more conservative and zipper mouthed Batman was a very compelling character struggle. Towards the end he would just chill in the Batmobile and shoot motherfuckers with rubber bullets because he was so self conscious about his stark fighting style.
Like I said before, he hasn’t gotten a fair shake even in the animated shows. The only adaptation I’ve seen him in is Under The Red Hood animated movie and The Teen Titans. I mean, he was the first Robin so any iteration of Dick Grayson is going to be that first and foremost but that’s like making a movie on superman and only focusing on the Smallville years. Wait…
So who would be the best Nightwing?
Nolan got the ball rolling by introducing a “Robin-type” character in Joseph Gordon-Levitt but it’s not Grayson so it doesn’t count. I’ve got a pretty big man-crush on JGL but I’ve got to stick to my fanboy sensibilities on this one.
Admittedly, this was actually a really tough one but I’m going to have to go with Channing Tatum. A big part of the Nightwing character is charm and a sort of comedic timing which I think Tatum definitely has. Because of his fighting style I’d say that the stunts in any Nightwing movie would be pretty demanding for even the most athletic of actors.
It’s not a perfect pick but I’m sticking by it.