The DC Extended Universe is in flux right now, with a number of secondary projects being put on hold while parent studio Warner Bros. focuses on righting the flagship franchises of the DCEU– Batman, Superman, and the Justice League. However, director Chris McKay suggested on Twitter that the Nightwing standalone film will likely remain on the slate despite potential delays.
McKay, responding to a fan on Twitter that openly asked if the Nightwing film would be cut from the slate, responded that the film was still alive.
No. You’re going to have to wait tho. Keep hope alive. To paraphrase Dick Grayson: Nightwing lives. Always.
— Chris McKay (@buddboetticher) October 24, 2018
The film, originally slated for a February 2019 release, has a murky future while the DCEU reorganizes after the defections of Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill, who played franchise cornerstones Batman and Superman, respectively. The poor performance of the Justice League film has caused Warner Bros. to reevaluate their approach to the DCEU, according to Comic Book.
The mysterious departure of Cavill from the role of Superman has prompted the studio to announce that they will not continue forward with the franchise for some time, according to Variety. A studio source commented in Comic Book that “Superman is like James Bond, and after a certain run you have to look at new actors.” The loss of Superman for some time makes realigning the DCEU difficult, as he is a central character in many DC storylines, including ones that aren’t his own.
It does seem that the studio is interested in continuing the standalone Batman franchise, but it appears that Ben Affleck’s entry into rehab will preclude him from reprising his role in Matt Reeves’ The Batman, as high insurance costs will prevent the studio from casting him in such a big-budget film, according to The Wrap.Unbroken star Jack O’Connell is rumored to be the frontrunner for the role.
With the studio’s highly anticipated The Flash film also experiencing delays due to the previous commitments of star Ezra Miller, the current hopes of the DCEU rely on Jason Momoa’s Aquaman and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman: 1984, along with surprisingly successful minor-character entries Suicide Squad and Birds of Prey. Should those titles, along with the eventual release of the Flash and Batman films, provide future success for the DCEU, then perhaps Warner Bros. will have an opportunity to fold Superman and the Justice League back into the franchise.
As for Nightwing, the evolution of original Robin Dick Grayson into a relative peer of his mentor Batman, that film will at least have to wait for a 2023 release if McKay is to remain attached as director. The turnaround decision by the studio frees up McKay to direct the upcoming Dungeons and Dragons film for Paramount, which is slated for a 2021 release date.