When we look at our favorite superheroes, most of them seem to be stuck in time. In an occasional twist, we might get an alternate version from another era. Rarely, though, do we get to watch comic book characters age. That’s what director Chris McKay likes about Nightwing, who he’s set to bring to life for the DC Extended Universe.
“I think that this character is so unique in the history of comics because no other character really grows up,” McKay explained in an interview with GameSpot. Tony Stark has always been a 40-something. Superman and Batman are only kids when we need to peek back at their origin stories. Spider-Man is somewhat of an exception because we’ve seen extended runs with him as both a teenager and a twenty-something, and Bruce Wayne got to be an old geezer in Batman Beyond.
“Robin,” McKay explains, “grew up from being a kid and working with Batman, then leaving Batman, and becoming his own thing and several versions of his own things.
McKay notes that Robin was supposed to be an entry point for younger fans to get into Batman, but Batman has often been perceived as the cool one. And over the years, Robin – the role, not the person – has been just as suspended in time as other comic book characters. Instead of locking the same person into the role, though, a variety of different characters have inherited the persona, from Dick Grayson himself to Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Damien Wayne, and even Carrie Kelley in the The Dark Knight Returns.
Grayson is one of the very few comic book characters who has aged in something resembling a healthy way. He didn’t come back from the dead, he’s not an evil twin. He still talks to his adoptive father. McKay is right, and this take on Nightwing has me interested to see what he does with the character.
But McKay was hesitant to give any further details about what he’s working on, citing DC Comics’ watchful eye and the tendency of fans to take anything a director on a project says as being a potential detail of that project.
McKay did say, though, that he wants to tackle Nightwing’s origin story on the big screen.
“How we approach that story, and tell that story, that’s getting into what I totally can’t answer right now,” he said. “But [The Accountant writer] Bill Dubuque’s writing the script, and he is awesome. I can say that.”
The DCEU might be stumbling, but they have some directors trying unique stuff, and that’s pretty cool. Nightwing doesn’t have a release date or even timeframe yet, but we’re eagerly anticipating it.