A Batman Spin-Off Got Some Crushing News

Chris McKay’s Batman Nightwing movie is unlikely to happen because the director hasn’t spoken to James Gunn about it.

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

nightwing movie

GamesRadar reports we may have one less Batman spin-off film, as Chris McKay’s Nightwing movie is unlikely to happen because the director simply hasn’t spoken to James Gunn about it. It was inevitable that the more Hollywood adapted comics into films, the more these cinematic universes would reflect trends in comics (both good and bad).

For example, filmgoers are a lot like comic readers now in that they have plenty of Batman content: there is the upcoming Matt Reeves sequel to The Batman, not to be confused with James Gunn’s new Batman (the one that actually fits into the DCU), nor the upcoming HBO Max Penguin series starring Colin Farrell, nor the upcoming Joker 2 (in which Lady Gaga inexplicably plays Harley Quinn alongside Joaquin Phoenix). In other words, there are almost too many Batman spinoffs to keep track of (a pain comics readers understand too well), but

Honestly, considering how careful James Gunn has been about creating a brand new DCU built around Batman and Superman as the tentpoles, the idea of a Nightwing movie becoming a reality seems less likely than ever. If Warner Bros. Discovery did greenlight such a film, it would indicate they were repeating the mistakes of yesterday, like when they rushed to make a Justice League movie when we barely knew several of the characters.

Logically, for a Nightwing DCU spinoff movie to be a success, we must first be introduced to Nightwing in an earlier film, and it looks like the first dedicated DCU Batman film will be The Brave and the Bold. Given its focus on Damian Wayne as the chief sidekick, it seems unlikely Nightwing would have much of a role in that movie.

It’s possible, of course, that the Batman and Nightwing of Chris McKay’s film could exist outside of the DCU. The reason that The Batman sequel and Joker 2 will exist outside of the DCU is that there is enough fan demand for those movies to put butts in seats without having the weight of a cinematic universe hanging in the balance. As much as comic fans love Nightwing, it’s just not clear whether his name alone could headline a major theatrical hit.

This is a shame because McKay’s earlier ideas about what he’d like to do with Batman and Nightwing sound fascinating. In previous interviews, he has said that he wants to do a Nightwing movie inspired by The Great Santini, which presumably refers both to the real-life Santini (a great trapeze artist, like Nightwing himself) and the famous 1979 film of the same name starring Robert Duvall.

That movie prominently featured a love/hate relationship between father and son characters, which might indicate McKay was going to give us a movie where Nightwing starts pushing back at the borderline fascist behavior of his own father figure.

Chris McKay directed Lego Batman

If nothing else, we are sad that we’ll likely never see Chris McKay’s portrayals of Batman and Nightwing because McKay’s next movie is Renfield, and previews of that Nicholas Cage film make it look delightful. And previously, McKay directed Lego Batman, which is inarguably one of the very best films starring the Caped Crusader. If his Nightwing movie ever gets off the ground, and if it could infuse some of the director’s trademark weird humor into these characters, then it might go over well with audiences that had to spend years pretending they enjoyed the grim, humorless trash content of the old DCEU.