Titans was a focal point this weekend at 2018 New York Comic-Con, screening Episode’s 1 and 2 on Wednesday evening, receiving a Season 2 pick-up before Season 1 has aired, and producer Geoff John’s spoiling that we will see some version of Slade Wilson/Deathstroke eventually in the series.
TV Source Magazine sat with the cast and crew of Titans and discussed the identity of this series, the nature of the characters and their relationships, and why it’s different than any other superhero offering to date. Ryan Potter, who plays Beast Boy, spoke on the difference between the comic book and television show. “Titans [has the ability to] explore the gray areas between the comics that have existed — pulling the smaller storylines and fleshing them out. Robin isn’t suddenly the leader of the Titans, there’s a whole emotional state that Dick Grayson goes through trying to find a new family and his place.”
Though Gar Logan serves as comedic relief in other incarnations, Potter says, “They pull the curtain back and see that there is trauma underneath the genuine quality that Beast Boy brings. His laughter and his heart comes from a place of deep pain and we do explore that.”
Executive Producer Greg Walker says Titans is a show about the struggle for identity — parental/child relationships — and how they define the characters. Approaching the series as more of a 12-hour movie than a regular television series differs from other offerings as tonally it offers more realism. “We are meeting these characters where they are now in their life,” says Walker.
There was deep discussion during development about Dick Grayson and how he would have been different if Bruce hadn’t raised him. There’s a nature vs. nurture argument to be made and that reflects in what Dick is dealing with and how he handles his relationship with Rachel. Akiva Goldsman, executive producer, says, “Dick is doing something for someone else that Bruce did for him. Everyone is a little broken and in order to heal, they need each other.”
We know Dick Grayson eventually becomes the leader of this group of heroes, and star Brenton Thwaites spoke about how his relationship with father-figure Bruce Wayne plays into where Dick is in his life now. “The relationship is very much like a father who loves his son, but maybe mistreated him by not giving him the things he needed, but underneath that relationship is love. Batman and Robin — Bruce and Dick — they love each other; Bruce took on Dick as a young boy when he had no one. When his parents were murdered, and he was kind of lost and scared, and I feel like underneath it all is this ‘thank you and this love for protecting me’ but also resentment for turning him into a weapon and maybe teaching him things that are not that great.”
The controversy and negativity surrounding reaction to the initial images and trailers, particularly Robin’s “fuck Batman”, wasn’t lost on those behind the scenes. Akiva Goldsman voiced some frustration with people unable to wait to see it in context before passing judgment. He says Season 1 is essentially one, long original episode, and the first batch of episodes is only the first act. “First acts are always dark, that’s when the shit hits the fan. That’s the problem and then you fix it. If you don’t break it first, there’s nothing to be fixed.”
He compares the Titans to Netflix’s Marvel dramas like Daredevil and reminds us they aren’t the Titans yet, that’s all to come throughout the season. Goldsman was particularly upset with the vitriol hurled towards star Anna Diop, who plays Starfire, but is happy to see she’s getting recognition for her amazing work as more people are seeing the first episodes.
When discussing the importance of diversity on television, he says, “Television has to be the shapes and colors of the world and its our job to reflect that; if we’re not doing that, we’re not doing our job, we’re part of the problem and there’s no excuse for it ever any more.”
In a separate interview with us, Alan Ritchson (Hank/Hawk) teased Hawk & Dove’s origin episode and discussed how the series delves into the human condition of flawed heroes.
DC Universe’s first original series, already picked up for a second season – from Weed Road Pictures and Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television – debuts its first episode on Friday, October 12 on DC Universe Streaming Service.
For more information, visit DCUniverse.com.