The recently announced Nightwing movie has fans of the DCEU (ourselves included) very excited, and the promise of The LEGO Batman Movie‘s Chris McKay examining the divide between Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson in live-action is an idea that’s simply too good to pass up. In fact, McKay recently opened up regarding the differences between Batman and Nightwing, and explained that Dick Grayson is an interesting character because of how his upbringing makes him a fundamentally different character than Batman — regardless of his similarly tragic origins. McKay explained:
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.
Chris McKay’s recent comments on the Shanlian on Batman podcast echo what many Nightwing fans already love about the character. Although this older version of Dick Grayson has gone through very similar traumatic experiences compared to his mentor, he has responded to them differently because of his personal upbringing. Dick Grayson is a man of the people in a way that Bruce Wayne has never been, and that humble upbringing makes him quite bit more relatable.
It also helps to understand the fact that Nightwing is a far more lighthearted hero than Batman. Sure, every member of The Bat Family is driven by darkness, but Dick stands out because of the showman-esque way in which he approaches his crime fighting. He’s flashy (that’s the entertainer in him), and he’s a more social creature than Bruce — which makes him a perfect leader for teams like the Teen Titans. Part of this has to do with the differences in his upbringing, but it also has quite a bit to do with the fact that Dick (in most iterations of the story) was older than Bruce when he lost his parents. That increased age made the wounds in his psyche heal differently, and subsequently turned him into a very different type of hero. He’s not afraid to crack a smile, and that’s one of the reasons why fans have gravitated towards him.
In fact, that last part is something that the Young Justice cartoon touched on to great effect during its initial run:
Although the project is obviously still in the very early stages of development, Chris McKay’s comments about how to characterize Nightwing bode well for the film. We will bring you more information related to the future of the Nightwing solo movie as more updates become available to us.