I was lucky enough to sit a chat with Chris McKay about his terrific action movie The Tomorrow War. You can check out our talk below.
I had to ask Chris about Nightwing and reveal a lot of superb info that makes me more HYPED for the potential of this film, including the fact it was a revenge movie and we would’ve seen Blüdhaven.
Other details include the budget being under $100 million, having multiple villains and the potential of Batman playing a small looming role in the feature.
Again, you can read more about McKay’s DC project by clicking the link here.
I thought to expand and put my little spin on things for fun and having seen The Tomorrow War, it goes without saying with both this film and his feature debut with The LEGO Batman Movie, McKay would make an incredibly kick-arse live-action Dick Grayson film.
Additionally, having worked together on the sci-fi actioner, bringing Larry Fong to DP would give Nightwing the epic feel it truly deserves. Lorne Balfe would score this film as he and Chris have worked together on the filmmakers past two features.
To give an idea of what you get in a film with a budget of around $100 million. In DC terms, Birds of Prey had a budget of $84 million and Shazam was bang on $100 million.
For this, I’d love to see the production to do has much physically with only certain elements needing special effects. I could see it being very similar to Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man.
As for the story, Chris does a wonderful job blending action with humour and plenty of heart. There are moments in Tomorrow War that made me cry, and McKay would bring all that to Grayson, highlighting his tragic backstory and growing up, becoming Robin and ultimately becoming his own man.
In many ways, it’d play within the coming-of-age genre, and I would show him leave the mantle of Robin around his twenties in a sort of Batman Begins style, especially during the first act. We follow Dick completely taking himself out of Batman’s shadow, learning about the world outside Gotham and experience new skills.
By the end of the first act/beginning of the second is when we enter the city of Blüdhaven.
This is where McKay and Bill Dubuque can have fun and create a version of this city. In the comics, Blüdhaven was a former whaling town that became home to highly industrial sectors before collapsing for the bright lights of Gotham during the depression.
So if you think Gotham is bad when it comes to crime and corruption, Blüdhaven is even worst and the ideal place for Grayson to establish himself as his own hero.
Geography-wise, Blüdhaven has always been the New Jersey to Gotham’s New York. So roughly 30 minutes apart from each other. The film itself could establish the gap even further; for example, Detroit comes to mind.
Detroit was an icon of industrial car manufacturing, Motor City, with both Ford and General Motors setting base there, and you can’t forget Motown. However, now nothing happens there and continues to decline.
I know the UK is famous for being used as Gotham, especially in recent years with Chris Nolan and now Matt Reeves using the gothic architecture of Liverpool, London and Glasgow to create his world.
Depending on the cities tax laws, it’d be great for the film to shoot on location or split it with Warner Bros’ Leavesden Studios.
Elsewhere, the multiple villains did have me interested because it sounds like it could’ve been possible we would see three and comes the question of would these just be Batman villains?
It’s hard to say. What could be said is the villains will have a connection to Dick Grayson, so if they come from Batman’s famous rogue’s gallery, then so be it.
When we arrive at Blüdhaven, one villain that has to appear is the king of the city, Blockbuster. Who is a villain very much in the mould of Marvel’s Wilson Fisk and in the comics has a look that wouldn’t transfer well to live-action.
The character has been played by brothers Mark and Roland Desmond and has the police force under his grip. They don’t have a Jim Gordon that is the bright light and an ally to the city and their new guardian.
One villain that would bring the human and emotional side would be Tony Zucco. A man that Dick thought had closure on having put away in prison for murdering his parents, but finding out he’s living a good life in this broken city will bring out the moral compass in Grayson.
The introduction of Red Hood would bring that out more. A character that has become more and more popular over the years as Jason Todd has appeared in animated films, video games as the Arkham Knight and in the upcoming Gotham Knights.
It would play on the dead Robin from BvS. I know Snyder has suggested it’s Dick’s suit, but that’s not official canon and Dubuque, McKay, and the studio could say, “no the dead robin was Todd.”
It would also make sense for Red Hood to target the crime-riddled city similar to his work in Gotham, lowering crime by killing criminals.
You’d have three villains that would interlink with each other and impact Nightwing in different ways.
Blockbuster would target Red Hood for stepping in his world and vice versa, being former Robins could be the two sides of the same coin and show Dick that doing Batman’s way didn’t stop Zucco and the only way to have closure is getting revenge and killing the man who killed his parents.
The final question would be, if Batman were to show up, who would it be?
Because the inclusion of Jason Todd returning as the dead Robin and given the line in Batman v Superman, “20 years in Gotham Alfred” hints at a lengthy reign, and Ben Affleck’s Dark Knight would’ve had a couple of mentees.
However, that seems unlikely Affleck will return after his stint in The Flash closing the door.
The other would be Michael Keaton, who’s returning as Bruce Wayne for The Flash and rumoured to take over from Affleck as Batman.
Seeing set photos suggests in Burton’s World, Keaton’s caped crusader has been around for 32 years since 1989. This would mean during that time he would’ve had multiple people joining the Bat-family.
The final option is not being connected to any previous batmen (for the time being) and just be set in its own universe and let it breathe as a Nightwing film without fans wondering if Batman or anyone connected to the DCEU would appear.