Warner Brothers Studio is doing everything in their power to help revive the DC Cinematic Universe that is only three films deep. Their latest announcement came in the form of a new film and character being announced for the universe. That film will revolve around a more grown up version of the original Robin, who will be taking on the identity of Nightwing.
Nightwing, whose real name is Dick Grayson, has a close connection to Batman. After spending his younger years under the Robin name, Grayson would change over to the Nightwing persona, which essentially opened the door for other young men to adopt the Robin name.
Now I do not want to get into too much backstory on Mr. Grayson. So if you would like to get to know the character more in terms of his comic book self, you can read up on his whole story here. Now let’s get down to business in terms of the on-screen version of the character.
Over at comicbook.com, Joseph Gordon-Levitt has topped a poll in terms of who fans want to see playing Dick Grayson. Typically, I would be all for JGL taking on a role like this, as I am a fan of him as an actor. But when it comes to Nightwing, he simply is not the right man for the job. And it has nothing to do with his acting ability.
So as I alluded to in the first sentence of this piece, the DC Cinematic Universe is not exactly in great shape right now. As a result, they need a few films that they can use as solid building blocks. So when it comes to a building block, every minor detail needs to be perfect. From that point on, they need solid films that can be well established within their own universe.
When it comes to a Nightwing film, it would likely fall under that second category. If DC has not established itself before that one comes along, it may never come. Wonder Woman and Justice League need to do that heavy lifting. This would leave Nightwing in the position of keeping up any built up momentum.
This is what brings us back to Mr. Gordon-Levitt. Levitt had a relatively important role in 2012’s hit The Dark Knight Rises. He played the role of Detective Robin Blake in that film. While he did not actually play the role of Dick Grayson/Robin, his character was obviously a nod to Batman’s sidekick.
But that was the third and final chapter of Christopher Nolan’s Batman world. Christian Bale and not Ben Affleck was playing the role of Bruce Wayne. Therefore, Levitt is already identified as a version of Robin within a very different, but very iconic Batman universe.
So if the role of Nightwing was given to Levitt, there would be immediate comparisons between the two sets of films. And quite frankly, the DC Cinematic Universe needs to distance themselves as far away from that Dark Knight trilogy.
While Affleck’s take on the Caped Crusader has garnered overall positive reactions based on his portrayal in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, the film as a whole was bashed. There is also the sections of fans who have hated on Affleck in the role simply because they hated the movie as a whole. Add in all of the uncertainty surrounding the solo Batman film and this take on the character needs to become its own thing.
So if they bring in a character who is directly tied to Batman, that character cannot continue to bring questions. Casting Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Dick Grayson would do just that.
Considering the plethora of great actors who could be picked for the role, JGL simply is not the right man for this job. You can love him all you want, much like I do, in other roles, but when you have guys like Taron Egerton, Jared Padalecki, Steven Yeun and many others as potential fits, this role must go away from the Inception star.