The following in a re-post of the article written on January 11th, 2016. This article was previously viewed well over 3,000 times before our site was hacked, so hopefully some new faces can find and enjoy this (and the Nightwing film) as well.
Question: Is it crazy to keep refreshing Facebook for 45 minutes to see if a fan film (that you’ve been waiting the better part of a year for) is live? I’m just asking for a friend…
I’ll admit it, the release date for this one made it into my calendar. I can’t remember the last time I was so anxious for a fan film! And Nightwing: TDK did not disappoint.
After 3 months off planet as the Green Lantern, Nightwing returns to Gotham in an attempt to make things right. His search for redemption turns into a pursuit of vengeance when he finds the beaten and mangled body of a member of the Bat Family. Nightwing is forced to ride the line between hero and villain as he tears the town apart looking for answers; in his desperation, he uses tactics usually employed by his enemies. He finds out who is pulling the strings, but taking down this puppet may be more than Nightwing can handle.
Before I get into it – I resolve to do my absolute best not to give spoilers, but you really should watch this thing for yourself before reading on:
Welcome back. So, were you doing a slow clap at the end there just like I was? Thought so.
Let’s get down to brass tacks – I loved this fan film! It is great on so many levels. First and foremost, these guys aren’t messing around. Each minute in this film is used well, and I can’t really think of any scenes or shots that didn’t belong. I see a lot of fan films drag out for the sake of a longer runtime, but this 22 ½ minute film felt like non-stop action until the last second.
I was also quite pleased at the final fight scene. On first watch I thought to myself, “It rocks! But maybe a couple shots coulda been trimmed to tighten it up a bit?” but I re-watched it, and I really paid attention to the emotion of the characters as well as the dialogue. There was a clear internal struggle there, and when you watch closely you really see it evolve into this slow build, emotional gut punch. And the scoring for that scene was phenomenal! The right builds and hits at the perfect moments just threw that scene over the top. I ended up re-watching that a few times in a row just to take in the music.
We live in a society that tends to feed off this constant stream of content – the more we can get (and the quicker we can get it) the better – and it almost becomes more about finishing things as fast as possible then rushing onto the next, instead of savoring the moment and really digging deeper into it. Like I said before, my initial thoughts were to cut a few seconds here and there… but once I really put myself in the mindset of these characters and what was going on inside them, I was wishing it would have gone on much longer.
Okay, let’s take a break from the emotional stuff, I’m getting misty-eyed.
Nightwing star Brady Roberts was kind enough to catch up with me again for a quick Q&A, and you can read all about it here:
HEATHER DISCO: Did you have a lot of returning cast and crew from Nightwing: Prodigal for Nightwing: The Darkest Knight?
BRADY: Yes, we had a handful of remaining cast and crew, but I’d say it was probably 80% new crew! Was really cool to see the differences in the way things were run. Much more smooth, professional, and fun this time around.
HEATHER DISCO: What was a typical shooting day like?
BRADY: Everyday was different, but this was such an ambitious project, every day felt huge. If we weren’t throwing two guys off of a roof, we were ripping motorcycles through the street, doing long fight scenes, or scenes with multiple actors. Every shoot day was a new challenge that we tackled head on.
HEATHER DISCO: Any new experiences on set?
BRADY: I’ve never produced anything that had a big, practical roof fall. That was crazy. Luckily, director Matt Campbell brought on the best stunt guys in the city so we knew we were going to get a sick shot, and keep everyone safe at the same time.
HEATHER DISCO: What were some of the differences between pre-production and production for Nightwing: TDK as opposed to the series Nightwing: Prodigal?
BRADY: I’ve still got lots to learn, but I’m a more seasoned producer now, and had a much better director and team to deal with this time, so it was just much smoother. Even the big shoot days that should have been very stressful were so much fun because we had such a great cast and crew involved. Everyone loves this project, loves Batman, and truly wanted to be there. Everyone left their ego at the door and produced the best possible show for the fans.
HEATHER DISCO: From what I heard on The Batman Universe Podcast, you’re entertaining the idea of a third and final chapter. Do you see that production being more of a series-style like Prodigal or a short film like TDK?
BRADY: IF we were to do a third and final chapter, it would be in the style of a short film like TDK.
HEATHER DISCO: Will you be submitting Nightwing: TDK to any festivals?
BRADY: We will definitely be submitting to some of the nerd centered festivals around! Wish us luck!
HEATHER DISCO: If you were to do a Marvel fan film, what would be your first pick of a character/story line?
BRADY: Good question, so many great Marvel story lines. I’m a big Spiderman fan. I’d love to see a great symbiote story told in live action- maybe Maximum Carnage? That would be so dope.
HEATHER DISCO: Any other upcoming projects fans can find you in?
BRADY: I’ll be in the second episode of the new FOX series Lucifer, which is based on the Neil Gaiman/DC Comic Sandman! Really excited to be a part of that universe!
Big thanks again for indulging me in the questions, Brady!
Now, you will see some obvious, distinct differences between Nightwing: TDK and its web-series predecessor, Nightwing: Prodigal. Aside from the technical aspects and format, the overall tone was noticeably more serious. A lot of the charm of Prodigal was that it was made with the hardcore, Easter egg loving fan in mind. The constant references to Batman media, as well as the fun costumes and sound effects, were great for the hardcore Batman/Nightwing fans but harder for casual ones to get into and really understand. I feel that TDK will reach much further into the masses. It is a solid story that comic fans and non-readers alike will really be able to roll with, whether they have watched Prodigal or not. It compliments Prodigal and moves the story forward (as it should), but is an excellent stand-alone piece as well.
I will be keeping my fingers crossed for a third chapter in this Nightwing saga, as I’m sure many of you are already doing. As far as my highlights and other thoughts:
- a killer opening scene!
- a killer second scene!
- every Green Lantern part was just rad
- great pacing
- nice choice of locations/sets
- beautiful cinematography
- a movie score to die for!
My few critiques:
- would have loved a little more animation/flare for the intro title
- Riddler wasn’t very “riddler-y” – but I suppose I’d be less jokey if I’d had a day like that
- music overpowered the dialogue in a few spots (but you can still hear all the words)
My gripes are few and far between, if you can even call them that. All-in-all, I would be pretty stoked to have a third chapter in that exact format and style!
Fan film creators, take note! Nightwing: The Darkest Knight has really raised the bar and shown what fan films are capable of. An incredible, emotionally-charged performance from Brady Roberts, and an excellent cameo from Dan Payne (not to mention the kick-ass stunts, killer cinematography, and epic score) obviously bump this into my list of fan film faves. Any filmmakers out there attempting to tackle Nightwing, you’ve got big shoes to fill!
Brady, well done as always! Can’t wait to see what you guys come up with next.
NIGHTWING: The Darkest Knight – Behind the Scenes
Nightwing: The Darkest Knight
Starring Brady Roberts
Directed by Matt Campbell
Written by Mike Howorun, Brady Roberts, Matt Campbell
Produced by Matt Hall, Matt Campbell, Brady Roberts
Director of Photography Byron Kopman
Edited by Ashley Lynch
Head of Makeup Lindsey McMillan
VFX by JD Buzz
You can use the buttons below to share the post, or here’s a shortlink for ya: bit.ly/NightwingTDK