Actor and martial artist Lewis Tan has a deep heritage when it comes to superhero movies. His father, Philip Tan, was the stunt coordinator on Tim Burton’s 1989 classic Batman. Now, the son — who’s already played two different characters from the Marvel Universe — might just carry on the father’s legacy in a very cool way by returning to Batman to star in the upcoming Nightwing movie.
During the Saturn Awards last Wednesday, Lewis Tan spoke to That Hashtag Show, revealing he’s had meetings with DC about being involved in a future project. Tan name-dropped director Chris McKay and teased “good juju vibes” for McKay’s Nightwing film that’s currently in development.
“We’re looking for the right thing and there were a lot of different talks and Nightwing was one of those that were mentioned, so we’ll see,” Tan told That Hashtag Show. “I know Chris McKay wants a martial artist, right, so that’s out there. He’s following me on Twitter, you know … there’s a lot of good juju vibes out there for that.”
Tan, who currently stars on AMC’s Into the Badlands, further stated that nothing is confirmed, but there’s mutual admiration between himself and DC. “This is a project that he’s still developing and I sat down with DC, with some of the executives at DC, and they’re big fans. I’m a big fan, obviously.”
Tan is a picture perfect, physical fit for the DC superhero who has yet to appear in a live-action movie. In the comics, Nightwing is the adult identity of Dick Grayson, the first Robin and a sidekick to Batman. Unlike his mentor, Dick utilizes his deep gymnastics background — honed during his time in the circus — and martial arts knowledge (specifically Filipino Martial Arts) to fight crime.
Despite his Marvel allegiance, Tan says that playing a role in the DC sandbox would “come full circle” for his cinematic roots. “My father came to America, because of Batman and, you know, I definitely want to see that come full circle and give back.”
A minor snag with Tan as Nightwing is the fact that Nightwing is canonically Romani, which has seen little representation in mainstream pop culture. But, perhaps just as well, Tan’s half-Asian heritage would still bring much-needed color to the overwhelmingly white film genre.
UPDATE: Tan has confirmed on Twitter that he has met with DC, but not specifically about Nightwing. His tweet is embedded below.