Shortly after the debut of The LEGO Batman Movie in 2017, director Chris McKay was tapped by Warner Bros. to helm a movie centered around the Dick Grayson version of Nightwing. Since that announcement, the DCEU has shifted and changed over the years, so despite McKay’s desire to do so, it’s not clear if the Nightwing movie is still moving forward. While speaking on The Beard and the Bald podcast — which happens to be hosted by our own Chris Bumbray and former JoBlo Editor-in-Chief Paul Shirey — Mckay reiterated that the Nightwing movie is still something he really wants to make.
I still want to make a Nightwing movie. I’m still very passionate about Nightwing. Warner Bros. has some really great recent successes, especially in the DC Stuff. I think some of the plans that they have now for opening up the universe and the multiverse stuff and things like that, I think there’s an opportunity now – and the success of Joker – and everything else. This is the time to make this movie. People are curious about these characters. There’s a huge interest in Nightwing as a character. So, that’s a movie I really want to do. It’s an action-packed movie and it’s also a very emotional movie. It’s a movie that’s near and dear to my heart. It’s the same kind of thing as [THE TOMORROW WAR], where it’s a hybrid; there’s a family story in the middle of it, but it’s also like a big, badass action movie.
It remains to be seen whether Nightwing will see the light of day, but it is promising that Warner Bros. haven’t officially shelved the project like they did Ava DuVernay’s New Gods and James Wan’s Aquaman spin-off The Trench earlier this year.
Even without Nightwing, Chris McKay has plenty of other projects up his sleeves, including The Tomorrow War, which will debut on Amazon Prime next month. The sci-fi action film stars Chris Pratt as high school teacher and family man Dan Forester as he’s recruited by time travelers from the future to fight a war against a deadly alien species. Determined to save the world for his young daughter, Dan teams up with a brilliant scientist (Yvonne Strahovski) and his estranged father (J.K. Simmons) in a desperate quest to rewrite the fate of the planet. It remains to be seen if Amazon will move forward with a sequel, but McKay certainly hopes they will.
I hope that Amazon wants to make a sequel to this movie, because I think it’ll be a lot of fun. I think there’s a lot of story on the table from a time travel perspective, from a world-building perspective from the White Spikes. So, there’s a lot of things that I think we can mess with and have a lot fun. It’s like what they did with The Purge or something like that, where it’s like they start with a really interesting concept and now the next movie and the next movie get to sort of play with those things and explore those things and blow them out. To me, there’s a lot more to this world, even from a design standpoint, from the stuff we designed and stuff like that. So, I’m hoping that that’s something they’ll [Amazon] will want to do.
McKay is also set to direct a live-action adaptation of the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon Jonny Quest and he told The Beard and the Bald that the script was recently turned in to Warner Bros. “It’s a little bit like Raiders of the Lost Ark, a little Indiana Jones,” McKay said, “but it’s a family movie-about a family, not just for families, it’s gonna be a PG-13 movie. You talk about pushing the envelope for PG-13, sometimes with kid’s movies they play it safe. If you’re gonna do an Indiana Jones movie where the family is going out on these adventures, the kids are gonna have to get in trouble and have to be sort of be over their head. And the very first scene is a very visceral scene. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the opening of the Johnny Quest movie is like Scream, as in – Oh, that’s what this movie is about and that’s where this movie is going to go.” Despite what sounds like a rather ominous opening, McKay says that Jonny Quest will be a “fun, funny movie” that also happens to be about overcoming grief. “The one thing we’ve never explored in the Johnny Quest stuff is the stuff about his mom and what happened to his mom,” McKay said. “So, there’s a grief story here at its center and it’s about a kid who sort of has a family that he sort of put together. Yes, it’s his biological dad, but everyone else is-it’s a mixed family and he’s put all these people together and it’s about kind of overcoming grief in the middle of this big adventure. So, I’m really looking forward to that.“
In addition to Nightwing and Jonny Quest, Chris McKay is also working on a Renfield movie written by Ryan Ridley (Rick & Morty) based on a story by Robert Kirkman (Invincible). The film revolves around Dracula’s henchman and how shitty a job that is, and has previously been described by Kirkman as a “fun, extremely violent comedy.” In order to prepare for the film, McKay has been watching a lot of Dracula movies, ranging from the classic Bela Legosi film to the Hammer Horror movies starring Christopher Lee. To close things out, McKay commented on whether The LEGO Batman Movie would receive a sequel, but owing to Universal acquiring the rights to the LEGO Movie franchise, McKay said that “there probably won’t be a LEGO Batman sequel, unfortunately.“
Chris McKay’s The Tomorrow War will debut on Amazon Prime on July 2, 2021.