After a long day of doing important adult stuff, what better way is there to wind down than with an evening of internet perusing? During one such World Wide Web excursion, I came across a fan film trailer titled “Nightwing: The Series Official Teaser.” I thought to myself, I says, “Self, the thumbnail looks pretty badass. Give it a shot.” So I did. What surprised me most about the Nightwing teaser is that it’s actually well-conceived. What I mean is that they keep production, for the most part, within their limits, and it genuinely got me excited, although the trailer does little more than set the tone of the project. My excitement surprised me, because I don’t usually expect much from fan films. Don’t get me wrong, fan films are usually fun to watch, but more often than not I’m left with a feeling of longing. Fan films merely tease my lust for things that will never be. Collectively, they’re filled with a bunch of wouldn’t-it-be-cool-ifs, bad acting and low production value. This teaser, on the other hand, had such quality that I realized my lust and hope may actually be sated this time around, and any negative tidbits I eventually came across concerning the project did not matter.
For one, an impressing bit of the teaser is that the lead, Danny Shepherd, doesn’t look like a fanboy. He suits the role. He’s handsome, with a lean athletic build. From the quick glimpses we get of Shepherd as Nightwing, the costume looks great. It has a plated armor look, much like Nolan’s Dark Knight, and Shepherd’s eyes are whited out. There are also some decent looking CG shots sweeping through Bludhaven. To top it off, Shepherd delivers his lines with an underlying smirk, which is so much like the Nightwing I know.
It turns out that the teaser is for a 3 part mini-series, and the whole production is spearheaded by Danny Shepherd and Jeremy Le of YouTube channel IsmaHawk. The two of them have also produced a few other short films of varying subject matter: Assassins Creed, Aladdin, and action shorts of their own devise. The channel also features their original Nightwing short titled Batman: Nightwing, which inspired the forthcoming Nightwing: The Series, now in pre-production.
If the original short is any indication of the crew’s knowledge of the subject matter, I’ll gladly admit the project is in good hands. Awesomely enough, the film features (aside from Nightwing, of course) Oracle and Red Hood, while being set in Nightwing’s very own city, Bludhaven. Sadly though, the film suffers from all of my previously stated qualms with fan films; bad writing, bad editing, bad fight choreography and cheesy one-liners. Since the teaser for the 3 part mini-series has already hooked me, all I can see is the latent potential.
According to the project’s Kickstarter page, show-runners Shepherd and Le promise that their three-part sequel will “look like a huge Hollywood production.” Separate from their usual production team, MG Studio is also involved, providing them with previously unattainable resources. So, it seems like this project is really happening and I could not be more delighted. To give you an idea of the improved conditions, all the funds raised by Kickstarter are filtering directly into better costumes, props, locations, production gear, stunt coordinators, and cameras and, while the first short was worked on by only two people, Shepherd and Le hope to bring at least thirty people onto the project.
Bottom Line – While Le and Shepherd’s work is, by no means perfect, these guys deserve a chance. They’ve produced some really good stuff without much money and I can’t wait to see how a higher budget will reinvigorate the project. You should join me in showing Nightwing: The Series some support. All things considered, I give the project 4/5 fist bumps. Only time will tell if they can get a solid five.