With filming for The Batman well underway, it makes you wonder when we’ll see any other members of the Bat-Family on the big screen. Especially, the ever-popular Nightwing. Unfortunately, the last anybody heard about a Nightwing movie was it being delayed since The Batman will launch a brand-new movie universe for Batman.
Anyone familiar with DC Comics knows that Nightwing, Dick Grayson’s alter-ego, is essentially the cooler, slightly darker version of Robin. In fact, Grayson was the original Robin.
A Nightwing movie isn’t going to work if Warner Bros. doesn’t find the right actor to anchor the whole thing. Given that the studio has yet to cast the role, things are wide open in the speculation department. Pretty much any actor in the 25 to 40 age bracket could potentially fit the bill, but we’ve narrowed the list of candidates down to 10 actors we feel could do the character justice.
How could we not include Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who portrayed Dick Grayson in everything but name in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises.
The ending of that film teased Gordon-Levitt’s character John Blake, whose birth name was Robin, assuming the mantle of Batman after finding the Batcave. However, Nolan never made it clear than Blake took up the mantle. For all we know, he just as easily could have assumed the Nightwing alter-ego.
Considering Warner Bros.’s plans for their slate of DC movies being in a constant state of flux, we will unfortunately never see what Gordon-Levitt’s Nightwing looked like. However, there’s a slim chance that the studio will set things right.
Sure, it may be a bit weird at first to see the actor essentially play the same character but in a different film universe. JGL is such a talented and charismatic actor that he should definitely still be given a shot at the part. That’s assuming the studio is looking to cast someone in their late 30s.
For an actor better known for his TV work than his movie roles, Kit Harington sure feels like a big movie star. This probably has something to do with the fact that he starred in Game of Thrones, probably the most cinematic TV series ever made. Also, it’s because he’s a captivating screen presence.
Although Harington isn’t the best actor around when it comes to raw talent, he knows his way around a dramatic scene. Plus, the physicality demanded by his role as Jon Snow would lend itself well to a role like Nightwing, which is sure to involve a ton of stunt work.
At 33-years-old, Harington is at the perfect age to play Nightwing. Unfortunately, he’d have to trim the hair and beard, which probably won’t go over well for many of his female fans.
Jared Padalecki, best known for his long-running stint on Supernatural as Sam Winchester, could convincingly play many a superhero, including Nightwing. At 37, he’s admittedly a bit on the older side for the character. That wouldn’t necessarily be a problem if the studio is looking to portray Nightwing as a veteran with years of experience under his belt.
That hair would probably have to go, though. Unless WB is going for the long-haired look, of course.
Casting a Korean actor as a character who is traditionally Caucasian would definitely rile up the racist contingent of DC fans out there. That should dissuade Warner Bros. from actively pursuing Steven Yeun to play Nightwing, as is an all-around great choice for the role.
Best known for playing Glenn on The Walking Dead, Yeun has the right build to play an athletic superhero such as Nightwing. Most importantly, he has proven himself to be adept at playing a character who can transition easily between lighthearted charm and darker attitude, which are traits that would serve him well as Dick Grayson.
While the 38-year-old Ben Barnes may not be an obvious Nightwing from a physicality perspective, he undoubtedly has the look of a veteran Dick Grayson.
Getting his start in musical theatre, Barnes has quietly built an impressive film and TV career since landing the title role in 2008’s The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. More recently, Barnes had a sizable role in HBO’s Westworld as the dastardly Logan and The Punisher as Jigsaw. Both roles prove he’s definitely an actor who has experience playing darker characters. This could serve him well if he were to play a darker hero like Nightwing.
At 28, Freddie Highmore admittedly may be better suited to play Robin than Nightwing. However, he’s such a talented young actor that we can’t help but wonder what he might do if given the opportunity to play the latter.
Highmore got his start as a younger actor with roles in films like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Spiderwick Chronicles. However, it’s his roles as a young Norman Bates in Bates Motel and Dr. Shaun Murphy in The Good Doctor that represents his best acting work to date.
Highmore’s experience with more dramatic content would be an asset for a role that will demand acting chops in addition to physical prowess.
Best known for his current role as Bellamy Blake on CW’s The 100, Bob Morley has proven himself to be a charismatic male lead who could anchor his own superhero film. Morley certainly has the build and look to pull off a convincing Dick Grayson.
Landing Nightwing would be a great opportunity for Morely to launch a film career. It also helps that he’s still a relative unknown, in case Warner Bros. is looking for someone a little less recognizable for the role.
If there’s any actor who realistically may already be on Warner Bros.’ radar to play Nightwing, it’s Dylan O’Brien. Young, slim, and possessing features that bear resemblance to how Dick Grayson is often portrayed in the comics, O’Brien is an actor who seems destined to play a superhero at some point in his life.
Best known for the Maze Runner movies and the Teen Wolf TV reboot, O’Brien has proven himself capable of anchoring an action-heavy blockbuster. So, it’s very likely that he’ll be on WB’s shortlist once they start casting the part.
Although he’s already involved with another comic book adaptation in the Kingsman series, there’s no reason Taron Egerton couldn’t make the jump to DC. Egerton’s breakout role in the original Kingsman not only gave him the chance to shine as a leading man but also highlighted his physicality.
At five-feet nine-inches, Egerton is a bit on the short side for a superhero. However, that might actually be to his benefit for a character like Nightwing, who relies more on his acrobatic prowess than a physically-imposing stature in his crime-fighting exploits.
Steven R. McQueen
Known primarily for his television work on series such as The Vampire Diaries and Chicago Fire, Stephen R. McQueen is an actor who has already voiced his interest in playing Batman’s former sidekick on multiple occasions.
His interest was first sparked a few years ago when TNT was looking to cast the part on Titans, a live-action series based on the Teen Titans comic books. After that plan was scrapped, McQueen suggested, half-jokingly, that he could always play the character on The CW’s Arrow. With these comments, it’s clear that Nightwing is a character the actor is passionate about.
Plus, it helps that a graphic artist by the name of BossLogic has already drawn up a concept of what McQueen might look like as the character, stating on Twitter that “Since Nightwing is back on the table my choice is still Steven R. McQueen.” We would not be opposed to this choice!