The Exciting Prospect of Lewis Tan as Nightwing

The 'Deadpool 2' actor recently met with DC to discuss Chris McKay's standalone superhero film.

Lewis Tan As Shatterstar

The ‘Deadpool 2’ actor recently met with DC to discuss Chris McKay’s standalone superhero film.

There is no one perhaps more in love with the DC Comics character Robin (specifically the Robin who would grow up to be Nightwing) than Chris McKay. The director has most notably expressed his appreciation for Dick Grayson on Twitter, and he featured him heavily in The Lego Batman Movie, though in the current live-action DC universe Robin/Nightwing has been shunted to the sidelines.

McKay has set out to right this slight against the character, and it appears he may have found just the right actor to help him breathe new life into him. Lewis Tan, recognizable from his (all too brief) appearance as Shatterstar in Deadpool 2, has met with DC to talk about McKay’s Nightwing among other projects. Tan tweeted about the meeting, including a photo of himself at DC Entertainment headquarter holding a hefty stack of comics, including Ed Brubaker’s “Batman Vol. 2.”

This news came with a huge reaction from DC fans, of course, as the character Nightwing has never been brought to the big screen. A favorite from the comics, he was the first of Batman’s protegees. Nightwing could be the closest thing we get to a Robin movie.

Textless variant cover of Nightwing vol. 4, #1 (September 2016); art by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado

DC Comics

Even more exciting than news of the film’s potential casting, though, is the possibility of having an actor of color play the title character. Tan has already expressed his feelings towards the importance of casting people of color in comic book movies, citing Jason Momoa’s Aquaman as an example. As a biracial man, he would be an important addition to the DC Extended Universe.

In regards to the character itself, Nightwing has always been white in the comics, so it would be especially significant to have an Asian actor play him. American films have a poor history when it comes to representing Asian actors in lead roles, or even roles where their characters are given depth and authority. Tan’s Nightwing could be just what we’ve needed all along to bring Dick Grayson to a big budget production, one where an Asian actor can be seen in an exciting, kick-ass role.

Tan also boasts a unique skill set particular to the character. The actor has extensive experience in martial arts, much needed for playing a character like the acrobatic Nightwing. Grayson was a circus performer when Batman found him, and his gymnastic background coupled with his training in the Batcave make him a force to be reckoned with.

McKay has already stated he is looking for an actor with martial arts training — or at least one who can keep up with the necessary stunt work — when casting Nightwing. This puts Tan in an especially advantageous position, as he would essentially be able to perform his own stunts. In an interview with The Hashtag Show, Tan went deeper into why he would be the perfect fit for a role like Nightwing:

“Yeah, I would put everything into it. I think that, when you’re a martial artist and you’re doing an action show, you can do so much more. You don’t have to cut around the actor, you don’t have to hide the actor and the performance alone is going to show so much more because it’s all you, and you’re all there and you’re putting your blood, sweat, and physicality into the role, which is a big part of these type of films, you know, like ‘Deadpool’ and ‘Batman’ and ‘Iron Fist,’ all those roles that I did, I can put so much more into it and I think it comes across, you know, and when fans see it they go, ‘Wow, that was incredible!’, even if it was short they go, ‘Wow, that was incredible!’ and I think it’s because of that effort you put into it.”

All fans can do now is wait and see if the official casting is announced, and if McKay will go with this talented pick for his beloved character. As Tan’s tweet put it, his father got his start in the film industry with Tim Burton’s Batman, and now it would appear things are coming full circle. It’s clear Tan will have a place in the DC universe in the (hopefully near) future, whether it’s as the Boy Wonder’s teenage incarnation or not.

(Contributor)

Kendall is a recent graduate and San Diego native who is passionate about the environment, writing, and above all else Keanu Reeves.