Why Young Justice Gave Nightwing A New Superhero Look In Season 4, According To The Co-Showrunner

Young Justice made its triumphant return for the fourth season with a surprise release on HBO Max, and a lot has happened for the heroes since the time jump from Season 3. Called Young Justice: Phantoms for Season 4, the two arcs so far have centered on M’gann's emotional journey on Mars and then on Artemis mourning in the aftermath of Conner’s fate. A less tragic change has been Dick Grayson getting an update to his superhero look, with Nightwing sporting a suit that will be very familiar for DC Comics fans and exciting for fans in general. Co-showrunner Brandon Vietti explained to CinemaBlend why it was time for Nightwing to get the arm stripes! 

Although Nightwing has only appeared in Young Justice: Phantoms so far in brief cameos and a flashback to when he was still in his old black suit with the blue symbol, the title sequence shows that he has a new look, and the promotional art for the season gives a better look at the black suit with the blue stripes. When I spoke to the showrunners, Brandon Vietti explained the plan with Dick Grayson’s Nightwing redesign:

Honestly, it was a combination. There was sort of a general excitement to add the stripes to the arms. So our character design team, and I know some of our directors, were very excited about that look, which I believe had been done in the comics. And I think it felt like a progression for the character as well. There's no reason why characters can't update their costumes from time to time, and I think we did it in a way that still works with his character and his needs as a hero. Still keeps him stealthy, but at the same time gives him a little bit of something extra. So looking forward to getting more Nightwing on screen for sure.

Young Justice: Phantoms has yet to give a good look at him in action with his arm stripes, but Brandon Vietti shed some light on giving him a new superhero suit without negating the stealthy look that he achieved with his first Nightwing suit. (Not so much the red and yellow Robin suit, though!) It’s also a familiar look for many DC Comics fans, both those who read the Nightwing stories back before the New 52 reboot and more recent fans, given his 2021 return to the finger stripes. And for Young Justice viewers who aren’t comics fans… what’s not to love about Nightwing getting a little bit flashier with more color without losing the stealth? 

The only bad news is that Season 4 hasn’t yet demonstrated just how the new suit looks when Nightwing is fully in action. Other than the opening credits (which don’t really show off the blue) and the promo art, the only shot of non-flashback suited-up Nightwing was in the background of a still during Artemis’ arc, and fans may not get to see him in action before the end of the year. HBO Max confirmed via Twitter that the third arc of Season 4 will center on Zatanna; assuming it also runs for four episodes like M’gann’s and Artemis’ with no surprise twists, that leaves one episode before the show goes on a hiatus until 2022

It’s possible that Episode 13 will be more of a team episode than centered on a particular hero, but one thing that is pretty certain is that the Nightwing arc (which seems likely to include Jason Todd, considering the clues that have been piling up since the reveal of the red-hooded ninja in Season 3) is being held until next year. We can always hope to see him in the last episode of 2021, however, because I know I’m ready to see Nightwing in superhero mode with the revamped look. After all, the show is trying to “defy expectations" this time around!

Whatever happens in what remains of the first half of Season 4, there’s a lot to look forward to as the show continues exploring the characters in a new way for the first season on the HBO streamer. New episodes release on Thursdays on HBO Max, and be sure to check out Zatanna's arc starting this week!

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.