ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

Now, over the years, we've seen a whole lot of different on-screen versions of Robin. Whether it's Burt Ward's classic 1960s take on the hero, Chris O'Donnell's more controversial '90s approach, or even Joseph Gordon Levitt's big reveal in The Dark Knight Rises, though, they've all had one key thing in common: they stay as Robin.

In the comics, though, Dick Grayson - the original Robin, and the man behind the vast majority of the on-screen masks - hasn't been the Boy Wonder for over thirty years. Instead, he's long-since transformed himself into the fan-favorite Nightwing, and an independent superhero in his own right.

OK, sort of, anyway.
OK, sort of, anyway.

And yet, when it comes to the on-screen portrayals of Dick, he's still almost entirely remained trapped in his youthful Robin persona, with few shows or movies (The New Batman Adventures being a rare exception) giving him the chance to break out from his youthful identity.

That, though, was very nearly not the case. Y'see:

We Almost Saw a Nightwing Movie in the Late '90s

"I'm NOT Robin, OK?"
"I'm NOT Robin, OK?"

Yup, that's right. Back in the Chris O'Donnell era of Robin (in which the young hero was essentially a petulant but bad-ass full-grown teenager), we almost got the chance to not only see Nightwing, but to see him in his own spin-off movie.

Y'see, back before the release of Batman & Robin in 1997, hopes were practically stratospheric when it came to the Batman franchise, and O'Donnell's Robin was seen as a natural candidate for a Nightwing.

However, as O'Donnell himself put it, when asked, in a recent interview with ET, about the long-rumored spin-off:

"Yeah there was at one point: Nightwing. When the reviews came out on Batman & Robin, that was shut down immediately."
Largely due to Bat-Nipples, presumably.
Largely due to Bat-Nipples, presumably.

Which, when you think about it, isn't actually all that much of a surprise.

After all, by the time we got to Batman & Robin, O'Donnell's Robin was already basically Nightwing in all but name:

And commitment to bright blue...
And commitment to bright blue...

So, at the time, then, the idea of him keeping the suit, and heading off to fight crime in Blüdhaven - Nightwing's traditional comic-book stomping grounds - wouldn't have actually been very jarring at all - and would, presumably, have opened up the possibility of a new, younger Robin to partner Batman.

But, sadly, the critical and commercial failure of Batman & Robin paid to the idea, and we've still only really seen Robin in comic-books and animated series.

In fact, even O'Donnell's kids haven't had the chance to see their dad don the suit, and pretend to be the hero. O'Donnell, y'see, still has his old costume, but:

"It’s in a wood crate. Honestly, my kids have never seen it. They’re like, “When are you going to open that thing?” And I go, “When I find a screwdriver.” It may have decomposed in there for all I know."
Too soon for a Flying Graysons joke?
Too soon for a Flying Graysons joke?

Or, in other words?

It's time to put all of our eggs of hope in the basket of the new live-action Titans series, which - if it gets picked up - would finally bring a real-life Nightwing to the screen.

Here's hoping, then!

What do you think, though?



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