Nightwing Drops a TOY STORY Reference So Perfect, I Can’t Believe It’s Never Been Done

June 4, 2024 - Movies

Warning: Spoilers for Nightwing #114!


  • Nightwing
    #114 makes a clever
    Toy Story
    reference with “falling with style.”
  • Dick Grayson’s journey mirrors the theme of taking risks and falling to fly.
  • The
    Toy Story
    quote could foreshadow Nightwing overcoming his fear of leaping.

A long overdue Toy Story reference works its way into Nightwing. A connection between the DC Universe’s greatest hero and Disney Pixar’s first full-length theatrical movie isn’t an obvious thread to connect. However, in connecting the two together, it makes for a surprisingly perfect marriage between one of the best superheroes and one of the best Pixar movies.

Batman’s former ward finds himself falling (with style) just like the leads of Toy Story in Nightwing #114 by Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo. In the first part of “Fallen Grayson,” the final arc of the series, Dick discusses the literal leaps he’s taken since he was an acrobat at Haley’s Circus. He recalls falling from the circus’ platform in his first attempt at making a big leap at seven years old.

Since then, he’s been falling “with a little more style.” The phrasing seems like an oddly specific Toy Story reference, as it echoes the iconic line “That’s not flying, that’s just falling with style.” But the reference is also oddly perfect for his character, especially given Dick Grayson’s recent fear of taking leaps.


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Nightwing, an Acrobat Since Childhood, Loves “Falling with Style

Just Like Toy Story‘s Woody and Buzz

If “falling with style” had to be associated with any DC superhero, it would have to be Nightwing. This iconic line doesn’t feel out of place being uttered out of Nightwing’s own mouth, especially when so many of Nightwing’s quotes are already about falling and flying being one and the same. Case in point: one of his more famous quotes from Secret Origins #13 (in a story by Dan Mishkin and Erik Larsen) comes when he says “You will never know if you can fly unless you take the risk of falling.” In isolation, that line already has so many layers related to Grayson’s journey.

His entire superhero career, Nightwing has often fallen with style and managed to soar in the process.

When readers compare that quote to the one at the center of Nightwing #114, the new iteration of the line holds even more significance — and even more so when bringing up the Toy Story quote. His entire superhero career, Nightwing has often fallen with style and managed to soar in the process. It was risky when he leaped for the first time at seven years old. He paid for it. But, Dick also took risks when he formed the Teen Titans, and then when he went solo as Nightwing after leaving Batman’s side. Looking at where he is now, those risks paid off.

Could Quoting Toy Story Be Foreshadowing for Nightwing’s Future?

How This Reference Ties into Nightwing’s Current Journey

In Nightwing #107 (by Taylor and Stephen Byrne), the title character gains a sudden fear of heights. As Nightwing #114 goes to show, he still has yet to overcome that fear or understand why it’s suddenly stricken him. This spin on the classic Toy Story line could be the key to Dick understanding how to overcome his latest ailment. It could foreshadow that to get over this fear, Nightwing has to, indeed, fall with style. How that happens remains to be seen, but Nightwing may need to take a lesson out of Toy Story’s book to get back to his old self.

Nightwing #114 is available now from DC Comics.

NIGHTWING #114 (2024)

  • Writer: Tom Taylor
  • Artist: Bruno Redondo
  • Colorist: Adriano Lucas
  • Letterer: Wes Abbott
  • Cover Artist: Bruno Redondo


Nightwing is the superhero moniker given to various vigilante heroes in the D.C. universe. Nightwing is depicted as a warrior who fights from the shadows, utilizes near-superhuman agility and expert combat skills, and tends to have several tools at their disposal. Though Nightwing began with Kal El/Clark Kent, Nightwing has since been primarily associated with Dick Grayson, a former Robin who grew into the new role.

Created By
Edmond Hamilton , Curt Swan , Marv Wolfman , George Perez

Dick Grayson, Clark Kent, Power Girl, Chris Kent

Teen Titans, Titans, Outsiders, Justice League, Batman Inc., Birds of Prey, Young Justice

Human, Kryptonian

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