This week we heard the exciting news that I Am Legend and A Beautiful Mind producer Akiva Goldsman has teamed up with studio executive-turned-screenwriter Marc Haimes (The Legend of Zorro, Collateral) to make a live-action Teen Titans series for TNT. Simply called Titans, the series is nearing a pilot order at the network, and will center on former Robin Dick Grayson, who “emerges from the shadow of Batman to become Nightwing,” and recruits a team of younger superheroes to fight crime with.
I’ve personally been dying to see Nightwing get his own series for quite some time now. He’s easily one of the most popular characters in comics, and is a perfect fit for television. There’s a ton of potential in a live-action Teen Titans series with Nightwing at the lead, especially since the idea of sidekicks hasn’t been explored very much in live action superhero cinema.
While we still don’t know if the show will happen, I’ve decided to look ahead and make a list of 8 actors that I feel could take on the role of Dick Grayson. Much like my casting lists for Shazam and Supergirl, this one comes with a few criteria. I tried finding actors who could not only fit the role well, but who would be willing to take a TV role. There are plenty of movie actors who would make a great Nightwing, but television is a much different beast.
So, without further ado, here are 8 Actors Who Could Play Nightwing On TV:
8) Milo Ventimiglia
Milo Ventimiglia has superhero experience, after playing Peter Petrelli on four seasons of NBC’s ill-fated series Heroes. The show may have dipped in quality considerably after its first season, but Ventimiglia continued to shine as Petrelli, who slowly discovers that he has the ability to mimic the powers of those around him.
Ventimiglia showed that he can lead a superhero show before, and could easily do so again. He’s been keeping himself busy since Heroes ended, but has mainly stayed on television, so the idea of him suiting up as Nightwing over on TNT wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility.
7) Matt Bomer
Matt Bomer was actually one of the actors I had in mind for the role of Batman in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, but we all know that that didn’t happen. At 36 years old he’s probably a bit old to play Dick Grayson, who has recently ditched his Robin persona in Titans in favor of fighting crime as Nightwing. But, he still deserves a place on this list.
Bomer not only has that handsome superhero look, but has shown on USA’s White Collar that he can not only lead a series, but play both comedic and dramatic sides of a character. That show’s ending after its upcoming sixth season, so his schedule is likely to open up by the time Titans goes into production.
6) Ian Somerhalder
Warner Brothers has a habit of taking actors and actresses from teen dramas for their superhero shows. Grant Gustin, who’s all set to play The Flash this fall, came from shows like Glee and 90210. Ian Somerhalder could be such a grab, and could fit the role of Nightwing nicely.
Somerhalder is no strange to DC TV dramas, having appeared on an early season of Smallville (as a character that was supposed to be Bruce Wayne, ironically). The Lost alum currently stars on The CW’s The Vampire Diaries, which is showing no signs of ending anytime soon, so it may be a stretch to think he’ll leave the hit show for Titans. Still, I could see it.
5) Harry Shum, Jr.
Speaking of taking actors from shows like Glee, how about Harry Shum, Jr.? He plays Mike Chang on the FOX musical dramedy, but that series is about to head into its final season, and Shum Jr.’s character hasn’t been a central part of the show for a while now.
Shum, Jr. is perhaps the worst actor on this list, but if you’ve seen him on Glee you know that he’s acrobatic enough to play a former circus star like Dick Grayson. Whoever lands the role of Nightwing needs to be in extremely good shape, kick a ton of ass, and do so in the most acrobatic way possible. With a few acting lessons, Shum, Jr. could fit the role quite nicely, and add a bit of diversity to the usually all-white casts of superhero shows.
4) Steven R. McQueen
Steven R. McQueen’s name has been tossed around for the Nightwing role for quite some time now. The Vampire Diaries alum has been campaigning for the role for months now, with many fans assuming that he’d one day land the role on either Arrow or The Flash. He obviously wants the part, and the fans seem to be behind him. So, why not give him a shot?
3) Dylan O’Brien
Dylan O’Brien is a Teen Wolf alum, fitting the bill of teen drama star that I mentioned earlier. However, he’s starring in this year’s adaptation of The Maze Runner, and if the film proves successful the actor’s resume is sure to fill up pretty quickly.
Still, there’s no denying that O’Brien would be a good fit for Nightwing. He looks the part, has acting chops, is about the right age, and is in enough shape to handle the physical demands of the role.
2) Penn Badgely
Gossip Girl alum Penn Badgely has a lot of film and TV experience, looks the part of Dick Grayson, and already has his foot in the door at Warner Bros., which owns the CW. Badgely is a pretty good actor who could handle the many-faceted parts of Grayson’s character; from tragic past to adventurous childhood as Batman’s former sidekick. He’s also the kind of young, handsome actor that studios go for for roles like this, and could easily lead his own series.
1) Steven Yeun
The Walking Dead actor Steven Yeun isn’t the first person that comes to mind for a role like Nightwing, but hear me out. He’s the right age, is in tip-top shape, and plays a very complex role on the AMC zombie drama. Yeun has grown as an actor significantly over The Walking Dead‘s four seasons, and has had to display a lot of emotions on the series. His character has gone through love and tragedy in a chaotic post-apocalyptic wasteland. While Dick Grayson hasn’t exactly had to live through a zombie takeover, he has been through a lot in his lifetime, which is something someone like Yeun could communicate on screen.
Nightwing isn’t a traditionally Asian character, but there’s nothing about him that would make a race-swap out of the question. Someone like Yeun could tap into the physical nature of the character, and give him a bit of a martial arts edge.
Tell me, what do you think of this list? Who would you like to see play Nightwing on Titans? Sound off in the comments!