Did You Catch The Nightwing Easter Egg In The Batman?

After years of anticipation, Matt Reeves' "The Batman" has finally hit theaters to near-universal acclaim. Just when you thought it was impossible to see a fresh take on the Dark Knight and his mythos, this movie surprised audiences by being just that. It might even be the best Batman movie ever. The film did an excellent job establishing Robert Pattinson's iteration of the iconic character, painting him as a recluse who can barely see through his own grief.

While the younger version of Batman in the comics was a loner as well, he has developed a pretty large group of heroes to rely on as the years progressed. In fact, the Bat-family is more extensive than you might think. Even if we're just talking about how many sidekicks have taken up the mantle of Robin alongside Bruce Wayne, we're dealing with five; six if you count Carrie Kelley (who's outside traditional continuity). The first of those was Dick Grayson, though he has gone on to be better known by another name.

While I am a huge fan of the entire Bat-family, my number one has long been Dick Grayson, aka Nightwing. My office walls are covered in sketches of the character and my Dick Grayson crush was the butt of plenty of good-natured jokes at the comic shop where I used to work. Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo's recent excellent run on the Nightwing title, which features Dick rescuing a puppy, is basically my version of erotica. Seriously though, it's the best the book has been in years and if you're looking for a new comic to read, this is a great choice.

You might think "The Batman" wouldn't include a Nightwing Easter egg, since it follows the Caped Crusader just two years into his crime-fighting career. However, those paying close attention likely noticed the mention of something quite closely associated with Batman's former sidekick. So, what tiny nod to Nightwing was in "The Batman"?

Who is Nightwing?

Dick Grayson debuted as Robin in "Detective Comics" #38 in 1940. He was created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and Jerry Robinson. Though he was introduced to make Batman more accessible to young readers, the Dynamic Duo has endured in many forms ever since. Dick was a young acrobat who performed in the circus with his parents, at least until a gangster chose to sabotage their equipment, leading them to fall to their deaths. Bruce felt an understandable kinship with the boy who was tragically orphaned just as he was, and he chose to help Dick channel his pain in a similar fashion. Dick's history as an acrobat made him uniquely suited to fight crime, and Bruce built upon these already impressive skills, training Robin in his own image.

As times changed, so did comics. And the darker Batman got, the less room there was for his brightly-colored companion. Slowly, Dick began developing a life outside of his ties to Bruce, and eventually, it became increasingly clear that he was outgrowing his role as Robin. Bruce may have been the most influential figure in Dick's life, but thankfully, he didn't turn out like his mentor. He even headed up his own team, the Teen Titans, a group of sidekicks also eager to get out of the shadows of their respective heroes.

Dick adopted the Nightwing persona in 1984, first appearing in his new costume — and what a costume it was — in "Tales of the Teen Titans" #44. Ever since, it has been his most consistent superhero identity, though he has gone by a few other names, including Batman. Nightwing built an impressive career outside of his time with the Caped Crusader to the point where Gotham is not even the location most closely associated with the character. Dick Grayson traditionally calls a different city home.

What is Blüdhaven?

Very mild spoilers for "The Batman" follow. At the end of the film, when Selina Kyle (Zoë Kravitz) is planning on leaving Gotham, she mentions going somewhere else, specifically Blüdhaven. The city was introduced in "Nightwing" Vol 2 #1 by Chuck Dixon and Scott McDaniel in 1996. Their work on the title remains the definitive run for Dick Grayson's hero, so if you want to read Nightwing comics, definitely start there.

After some dead gang members wash up in Gotham, Bruce posits they arrived from the harbor directly south, floating there from Blüdhaven. So, Dick heads to the other city to investigate. For point of reference, Blüdhaven is situated between Gotham and Atlantic City. While Gotham certainly drew inspiration from New York City, it's generally depicted as being located in New Jersey — though DC's made-up cities can be tricky to pin down.

While Batman protects Gotham, Nightwing traditionally sets up shop in Blüdhaven, which he views as being in even worse shape than Gotham. Dick has long felt responsible for the city, which does attract a certain criminal element, with plenty of supervillains choosing to call it home. The most well-known of these and one of Nightwing's greatest enemies over the years has been Roland Desmond, aka Blockbuster. Both inhumanly strong and incredibly intelligent, Blockbuster's closest Marvel counterpart would probably be Kingpin.

What does it all mean?

Was Selina mentioning Blüdhaven simply a fun nod to Nightwing, or does "The Batman" director Matt Reeves have specific plans for the city? It's certainly possible Catwoman could strike out on her own there. After all, it's not so far from Gotham, and she couldn't still swing by to visit Batman. While Reeves didn't totally shoot down the idea that Robin could appear in the sequel, even if he did, we're still a long way off from seeing Dick take up the mantle of Nightwing. It seems likely that this is little more than a wink to the character's comic history and that Reeves is just expanding the world of "The Batman." Although, after seeing the incredible job he did creating this new version of Gotham, it's exciting to consider what he would do with Blüdhaven down the line.

There have been long-gestating plans for a Nightwing film, but it's looking less and less likely that it will actually happen. We have seen Brenton Thwaites suit up as the character in "Titans," and it seems like that might be the most we see of Blüdhaven's protector in live-action format for quite some time. As a huge fan of the character, I'm really hoping DC doesn't rush his hero's journey and I'm okay with waiting to make sure they get it right when Nightwing finally lights up the big screen.