Ever since the release of that infamous Titans trailer back in July that quickly trended on social media streams as well as launched a torrent of memes, fans have been waiting with perhaps morbid curiosity for just what they can expect from this new live-action take on the beloved DC Comics property that’s set to premiere on the DC Universe streaming platform on October 12th. With a second season already greenlit as announced last night at the world premiere at NYCC, the folks at DC Universe clearly have faith in the show.
Those in attendance were treated to the first two episodes. I’m prone to let viewers see and judge for themselves, but personally I still have some reservations. Perhaps it’s just my humanistic tendencies, but seeing heroes so easily take lives doesn’t particularly thrill me, most especially the Teen Titans. Nevertheless, I’m willing to give it a chance and not write Titans off completely.
Some things of note:
- Expect a lot of DICK, both Grayson and otherwise
- Starfire has an encounter with Konstantin Kovar, a nice nod for nerds since in the comics he’s the father of Red Star whose original codename was Starfire
- Donna Troy is among the notable names in Robin’s phone contact list
- Brace yourself for a brief Doom Patrol tease at the end of episode 2
After the screening, TV Insider’s Damian Holbrook moderated a brief Q&A panel with show producers Geoff Johns, Akiva Goldsman, Greg Walker and John Fawcett, as well as cast members Brenton Thwaites (Robin), Anna Diop (Starfire), Teagan Croft (Raven), Ryan Potter (Beast Boy), Alan Ritchson (Hawk), and Minka Kelly (Dove).
According to Johns, a pioneering writer in DC Comics who actually penned an acclaimed Teen Titans run in the early aughts, he and Goldsman have been developing this Titans project for nearly 7 years. In fact, at one point Warner Bros. wouldn’t allow them to include Robin, the Boy Wonder. Unlike other DC Comics shows that air on traditional network television, there was no creative mandate for Titans except to make it different, which afforded the show creators to go in such a dark direction. Goldsman joked that the famous “Fuck Batman” line came from Johns.
As polarizing as the line has become, Johns firmly believes that it encapsulates everything about where Robin is at the beginning of the show Interestingly enough, actor Brenton Thwaites said that the line was added in reshoots to give the scene some comedic energy.
Teagan Croft enjoyed the duality of playing not only the evil demonic aspect of Raven but also the emotional and introspective of her human identity Rachel Roth which enabled some deep self-discovery for Croft. Anna Diop was completely unfamiliar with Teen Titans or Starfire before landing the role, which may have been a benefit since the show begins with Starfire literally having no idea who she is either. Talk about art imitating life. Although Beast Boy has a minimal role in these initial two episodes, Potter was quite pleased with the visual effects of Beast Boy’s animal transformation with moderator Holbrook comparing it to An American Werewolf in London.
As any actor who’s worn a superhero suit can attest, they are not the easiest things to get into despite what comics tell you. Alan Ritchson remarked that gearing up into Hawk’s outfit took quite a few hours. In spite of uncomfortable costumes, Minka Kelly found she and her onscreen love interest had genuine chemistry and felt naturally in sync.
In the end, Goldsman noted that the underlying narrative of Titans is an attempt for these characters to form a family. While all the principle characters are rarely onscreen together, you can look forward to some different combination and character dynamics.