It’s quite a deep-cut character to choose to take to the big screen, to be honest. He only appeared in a few dozen issues, and has a slightly, er, complicated status within Marvel continuity.
Who is Nightwatch?
Dr Kevin Trench was walking home one day when he saw a costumed figure get killed by futuristic terrorists. He took the mask off the corpse and was horrified to learn it was an older version of himself. Deciding he could avoid the fate of the man in the suit by simply running away, he took the suit to a desert island. However, when a man who washed up in the island ended up absconding with part of the suit. Trench realised he couldn’t run away from his fate and had to at least investigate the suit’s origins.
While doing so, he became a bit of a vigilante, battling loads of villains while looking into a company doing weird experiments with nanotechnology. Following a series of reasonably confusing escapades involving lots of different nanosuits, an alternate future timeline where the Earth is doomed and a bunch of fairly convoluted events, Trench realises that the only way to ensure the doomed future timeline never takes place is to complete the loop that his tale began with. He travels back in time, sacrificing himself at the hands of terrorists, to save the world. Ledge.
Later on in the comics, he’s alive again, because they just do that sometimes.
He looks a bit familiar…
His costume looks quite a lot like Spawn’s, yeah. Spawn was massively popular in the ‘90s, when Nightwatch was introduced, so the character was dismissed in certain circles as a bandwagon-jumping ripoff. The comics world is full of bandwagon-jumping ripoffs, so it’s all good really. Superficially, both Spawn and Nightwatch are African-American men in mysterious suits that have loads of hidden abilities, but it ends there - Spawn’s story is all about Hell and the afterlife and stuff, while Nightwatch is all futuristic nanotechnology and time-travel.
What powers does he have?
Nightwatch wears a nanotechnology-powered suit which increases his strength and durability by linking straight into his adrenal system. It also repairs itself immediately if it takes any damage. During a fight, it links straight to his subconscious mind, giving him incredibly fast reactions and reflexes. In later story-lines it becomes more weaponised as well, featuring additions like blades. The fella inside, Dr Trench, is just really clever.
Is he still about?
Well… In the comics, there was a bit of a turn-up for the books in a She-Hulk storyline which it was revealed that actually, Trench was a reeeeeeeal bastard. He was a supervillain called Nighteater who cast an enormous spell on the world making them forget about his villainy and think he was Nightwatch, a hero. They might not use this for the film as, while there’s definitely an interesting story in a former baddie hiding his crimes, the “enormous magic spell” element of would be likely to seem a bit, er, silly.
What do we know about the film?
Very, very little at this stage. The script is set to be written by Luke Cage show-runner Cheo Hodari Coker, replacing Now You See Me writer Ed Ricourt, who was initially going to be doing it. Spike Lee is now, according to That Hashtag Show, confirmed to be directing. No stars, dates or deets are known beyond that.
Will it connect with other movies?
It’s thought to be a part of the shared universe Sony are beginning with Venom, which is also set to include Silver And Black and Morbius The Living Vampire. Nightwatch was involved in some story-lines with Carnage, who is appearing in Venom, so there might be some clues in that film as to what’s to come. V
enom is out on October 5th.