In October 2018, the DC Universe added Titans to its TV offerings. As a live-action adaptation of the Teen Titans comics, the hit show concerns a group of young heroes led by Brenton Thwaites' Dick Grayson. The series has already been renewed for a second season so we’re likely to hear more about it. Here are 24 do-gooding facts about DC’s Titans.
Anna Diop, who plays Starfire, had a rough entry into the DC Universe. Starfire is orange-skinned in the comics, and the showrunners decide to forgo that skin colour for the TV Show. Diop, a Black actress, got the part and received a wave of prejudiced comments immediately after the first stills of her as Starfire came out back in April.
Since then, Diop deactivated comments on her Instagram and fired back at the haters: “Too often social media is abused by some who find refuge in the anonymity and detachment it provides." She called out her trolls for being "weak" and "sad" and declared that their cruel comments said much more about them than her. Too true.
Viewers called the Titans trailer “dark and gritty," especially due to one of Robin’s lines: “F--- Batman.” Those two words come some thugs ask Robin where Batman is, seemingly disappointed that the Caped Crusader isn’t going to be the one to knock their teeth out. Writer Geoff Johns defended the line despite the controversy. He says that Robin is at a stage where he is trying to get out of Batman’s shadow.
Titans is first original live-action production for DC Universe, and the first live-action one made specifically for a digital service (as opposed to cable TV). DC’s new digital streaming service houses all of DC’s pre-exisiting animated content, and will also house newer content like the upcoming third season of Young Justice. DC Universe also gives its members access to DC comics. The service is currently only available in the US.
Jason Todd, the second Robin, was originally killed off back in 1988, after fans got to vote on whether Todd kicked the bucket or not. Batman #427 featured Batman firing Todd for being too impulsive and offered readers the poll. The poll offered two 1-900 numbers: One for Todd to live and one for him to die. Fans picked Option B, but Todd would later come back (comics, am I right?).
Since Todd got introduced in Titans, DC Universe hosted its own poll for TV Todd’s fate. Only members have access, but tens of thousands of peoples cast their votes as of November 2018.
Titans recently gave viewers the first glimpse of the Batmobile, in one of Robin’s flashbacks. Fans quickly noticed the design looks heavily inspired by Batman: The Animated Series, one of the most beloved iterations of The Dark Knight. Since the show is about Robin breaking away from Batman, that sneak peek might be the only glimpse that fans get.
Ryan Potter, who plays Beast Boy, is actually campaigning to be Tim Drake in Ben Affleck’s solo Batman film. Potter got the idea when a friend told him he looks like Tim Drake, the third Robin. He made up his mind after researching the character. The most famous part of his campaign (so far) was a viral video where he showcases his acrobatic and combat skills.
Potter, who is half-Asian, says that he wants to break the mould for comic book casting and start a dialogue.
Bruce Wayne has appeared only in flashbacks as a silhouette, but previews for new episodes showed a Batman silhouette. In true fanboy fashion, people theorized that Batman featured might be the Batfleck. Only time will tell!
Lewis Tan is rumoured to be joining DC Universe at some point in the future, with some speculating he might play Batman or a Batman villain. Tan posted a pic back in June from a DC office, where he tagged DC Universe. He had a stack of comics under one arm, including a storyline where Bruce Wayne must escape from prison.
Tan has said his dad played a henchman in Tim Burton’s Batman and that things will come full circle. Regardless of what the role is, it appears he’ll be involved with Batman in some capacity in the near future.
While the show might market itself as a team-up show, some critics say it's taking too long to actually, you know, build up the team. Beast Boy only has a few minutes of screentime in the first three episodes, Robin has plenty of screentime but still isn’t fleshed out aside from his anger management issues. Even so, fans are excited by the introduction of characters like the Doom Patrol and Jason Todd.
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Titans has been in the works since 2014, when the show was originally planned to air on TNT. The project was announced in September 2014 and Geoff Johns, chief creative officer of DC (at the time) announced the pilot would film in 2015. 2015 rolled around and Titans was nowhere to be seen on TNT’s lineup.
The official announcement came in early 2016 and the TNT project was scrapped. It wasn’t until April 2017 that Warner Bros announced Titans would launch on its new service, DC Universe.
Brenton Thwaites was on the shortlist for the role of Robin for over a year before the show aired. A big part of the appea was that he would not be a sidekick. Dick Grayson eventually drops the mantle of Robin and becomes his own man, Nightwing.
Aside from wanting to break away from Batman’s shadow, actor Brenton Thwaites added that Robin dislikes Batman because Batman is too violent. At some point in his past, Batman crossed the line and Robin now seeks to distance himself from his old partner.
Robin has actually not been portrayed on live-action TV since his roles on the old Adam West Batman, where Burt Ward played him. Thankfully, Brenton Thwaites doesn’t have big shoes to fill.
Although Robin’s most famous line at the moment might be, “F--- Batman,” Brenton Thwaites actually argued with the writers about Robin using the name. Thwaites argued that Robin should refer to Batman mainly as “Bruce Wayne” due to their level of familiarity.
The Titans writers realize that a lot of fans would love to see Batman, so they cleared the air in episode five. When Beast Boy asks Robin if he knows Batman and if he’ll get to see him, Robin quickly lets Beast Boy know that it’s not going to happen: “No, you’re not.”
Although the DC Universe was supposed to have exclusive rights to Titans, Netflix got its claws on the show’s international rights. Titans is now set to stream on Netflix outside ‘Murica. Details are not available for the release date but some sources guess Titans will be able to international audiences on Netflix in early 2019.
Leading into the fifth episode, Titans still received some criticism for not having a clear villain. Acolyte will apparently fill the role later in the season. The villain was introduced in the comics in 1999. Long story short, he is a hypnotizing immortal with a demonic appearance.
Although fan theories and hopes abound, DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson and writer Geoff Johns insist that Titans will not crossover with the Arrowverse (e.g. The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl).
Alan Ritchson, who plays Hank Hall/Hawk in Titans, has some previous experience with DC, since he played Aquaman in Smallville. Ritchson also taught fans to check their sources. A fan tweeted him, asking if he was going to play Shazam in the 2019 film of the same name, to which Rithcson responded “yup.”
Ritchson continued with the charade, refusing to deny any claims until it was announced that Zachary Levi got the part.
In Titans, Dick Grayson works as a detective with the Detroit Police Department. This parallels Grayson’s decision to join Bludhaven’s (fictional city) boys in blue in the comics to try to get justice through the law.
Raven is played by Teagan Croft, but could have been played by Katelyn Nacon. Nacon is probably best known as Enid from The Walking Dead. Nacon admires other characters, such as Deadpool and Batgirl, but says Raven was her dream role. Unfortunately, Croft was cast by the time Nacon found out about the role.
The TNT version of Titans was called Titans originally, but was then switched to Blackbirds. There is no comic precedent for the name. Some outlets theorized it may have been a reference to the bird names on the team e.g. Robin, Raven. Or possibly a reference to the Birds of Prey, another superhero team.
While some critics embrace Titans’ dark tone, many view it as one of the show’s main weaknesses. Like Marvel, DC’s properties can differ in their tone, from the lighter tone we’ll likely see in Shazam to the (relative) darkness of Batman v Superman. However, it doesn’t seem like DC is getting the same leeway to experiment with tone that Marvel does, where its kid friendly films and more mature Netflix shows are both well regarded (for the most part).
The cancelled version of Titans was set to star some additional heroes, including Barbara Gordon/ Batgirl. Although the role was labelled as Batgirl, the character description described Gordon as the team’s hacker, which fits in better with her “Oracle” persona. In the comics, the Joker paralyzed Gordon after shooting her in the spine. Gordon then begins to make more use of her intellect and computer skills to become a hacker and mastermind for the good guys.
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